One of the arguments over illegal immigration is about what the net effects would be if we did somehow manage to chase all 12 million or so illegals away. Would it be mostly positive, ending the drain on social and welfare costs and slowing down the country's cultural bifurcation? Or would it be mostly negative, leaving all those empty jobs Americans don't want to do and increasing the cost of everything? Perhaps they will find the answer in Oklahoma and Arizona:
Thousands of illegal immigrants have fled the two states that have enacted tough new immigration laws similar to the one before the Indiana General Assembly.
Since passing their laws, Oklahoma and Arizona have seen declines in school enrollments, a scarcity of construction workers and the sudden emptying of rental homes and apartments.
The same, some people say, would happen in Indiana, though advocates of stronger immigration laws say they would welcome the change.
Immigrants mostly come here to work. If they can't work, they won't come. What is true of the two states should be true of the whole country -- that would be true border control. But perhaps we are afraid to find out what the real effects would be.
The consensus seems to be -- on both sides of the debate -- that it represents a failure that states are having to deal with something that is the federal government's duty. And in a way it is. But this is also in keeping with the intent of federalism -- states acting as laboratories of democracy. They can try something out to see if it works on a small scale before we commit to it on a national scale.
Since each state's economy is different, we would need more than a few to see what the common experiences might be. Let Arizona and Oklahoma -- even Indiana -- be among the experimenters if they want to be. We could then augment theories with some actual facts, always a good thing when an issue of national importance is engaged.