By Michael Mandeville ’11
Earlier this year when Senate Bill 1070, an attempt at immigration reform, was introduced, there was immediate questioning of the economics behind the law.
A variety of news outlets and politicians voiced their concerns, but it is still difficult to understand exactly how the law will impact the economy.
It is not certain what exactly is going to happen to our Arizona’s local economy in the long run, but it is clear that SB1070 is going to take funds out of tax payer money, as well as deal some heavy blows to certain industries in the state.
No official statement of the law’s cost has been released, but the American Immigration Council reported the costs of a similar law that was proposed in Yuma County in 2006.
A $10 million investment in local law enforcement is only the surface of expenses the state is going to face, accroding to that estimate.
The American Immigration Council further reported there would be between $775,880 and $1,163,820 in processing expenses for law-enforcement agencies; $21,195,600 and $96,086,720 in jail costs; $810,067-$1,620,134 in attorney and staff fees; and unknown costs for additional detention facilities.
These are only the expenses the government and tax payers would bear and only make up the estimates for one county.
Though these prospective expensive are staggering, illegal immigration is currently costing tax payers $2.7 billion each year, according to a Federation of American Immigration Reform report.
Expenses currently include public schooling and other education programs, medical costs, enforcement against illegal immigrants, welfare and other general expenses.
But these figures don’t amount to the revenue other industries claim they will lose because of the law.
Arizona’s travel industry is said to take a $18.6 billion hit because of the law, according to a Phoenix New Times report in May 2010.
Also, because of the controversial nature of the law, boycotts like Sound Strike, a band boycott encouraging artists not to play in Arizona as a stand against SB1070, emerged receiving criticism from local business owners.
Kimber Lanning, owner of Stinkweeds record store and the director of Local First, a non-profit organization promoting the stimulation of the local economy through local spending, said at the national level the boycotts were “nothing but a symbolic gesture … economically, it’s more like being in a pillow fight.”
Lanning made clear these boycotts would hurt the small, local business.
“Hurting small and local business is absolutely the worst thing you can do because if anyone is going to carry the message, have the discussion and encourage open dialogue, it’s going to be the small independent entrepreneur,” Lanning said.
SB1070 creates fear, tension in community – http://wp.me/pIfpv-Aa
Four months into law, debate over SB1070 legality lingers – http://wp.me/pIfpv-A6
Staff Editorial: Immigration bill fails to solve issue – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zI
SB1070 promotes bigoted rhetoric – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zz
SB1070 defends Arizona borders – http://wp.me/pIfpv-zw