Hat Tip to Ablur!
Arizona is leading the nation in local enforcement of laws against illegal immigration. As illegal immigrants leave the state, the state’s most serious problems such as traffic congestion and the expense of teaching English Language Learner classes are dissipating.
Since Arizona’s local law enforcement began enforcing illegal immigration laws and an employer sanctions law went into effect, illegal immigrants have been fleeing the state in large numbers. The effects have been far-ranging. Commuters are reporting fewer vehicles on the freeways, shortening their rush-hour commutes. What had become a serious transportation problem in Arizona is losing its urgency. English Learner Language (ELL) students started dropping out of school. This helped end a confrontation between the state legislature and a liberal federal judge who had ordered the state to spend more money on ELL classes.
Fewer illegal immigrants are using hospital emergency rooms, so waiting times have decreased. Although the rest of the country is in an economic slump, unemployment is going down in Arizona, from 4.5% in January to 4.1% in March. Day laborers loitering outside of Home Depot and other stores have mostly disappeared, ending months of confrontation between illegal immigrant sympathizers and protesters. Desert lands near the border are returning to their pristine condition and the wildlife is coming back. Identity theft and car thefts are decreasing. No one showed up on May 1 to march in immigrant rallies.
With illegal immigrants leaving, the state will see huge savings as fewer illegal immigrants use social welfare programs and the cost of arresting, prosecuting, incarcerating and deporting them decreases. Arizona is facing one of the worst budget deficits ever, looming as high as $2 billion in 2009, but the situation may resolve itself.