Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sheriff Joe At It Again

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ) is back out "sweeping the streets" clean of crime by undocumented immigrants. Newly reelected, his first action was in the rough southwest section of the county, which America's "toughest sheriff" describes a hotbed of immigration smuggling and crime. His latest sweep rounded up 14 suspected undocumented immigrants. Critics describe his sweeps as publicity stunts and fault the sheriff for neglecting real efforts at fighting crime. (See Arizona Republic article.)


Hard times are supposedly encourage immigrants, especially the poor and undocumented, to return home. There is evidence that the flow of migrants has stemmed but not stopped. More likely the immigrant is suffering through hard times like others and perhaps working for less and sending less money back home. This is the gist of a study released by the Migration Policy Institute. Legal immigrant, having waited so long to get visas, are not likely to pass up the chance to come to the United States. Besides they have relatives here to help them. Undocumented immigration may slow, but the recession is global. The US may still offer the best bargain. The danger for newcomers and those already here is that they may settle for lower wages and poorer work conditions -- perhaps even undercutting other workers. This underscores the appointment of Rep. Hilda Solis as new secretary of Labor. Securing workers' rights may be as important now as comprehensive immigration reform. (See Washington Post article.)

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