Will Arizona’s Strict Immigration Law Increase Migration Into Nevada?

¡PURA VIDA TICA!
The Arizona governor just signed a bill requiring local law enforcement to question a person if the officer reasonably believes the person is in the state illegally. It is estimated that 400,000 people reside illegally in Arizona. That new law gives some of those people an incentive to move to Nevada.

SB 1070, has several provisions. It requires the police “when practicable” to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization and verify their status with federal officials, unless doing so would hinder an investigation or emergency medical treatment. It also makes it a state crime, a misdemeanor, to fail to carry immigration papers. To thwart the common practice of hiring day laborers at street corners and roadsides, it makes it a crime to do so if it interferes with traffic. It also allows people to sue local governments or agencies if they are failing to enforce federal or state immigration law.

Interstate migration is governed by a “push-pull” process; that is, unfavorable conditions in one place (oppressive laws, heavy taxation, etc.) “push” people out, and favorable conditions in an external location “pull” them out. Under that theory, some of those immigrants will move to Nevada which has much more lenient immigration laws. Others who originally intended to migrate from Latin America to Arizona may choose Nevada instead.

Immigration provides America with legions of unofficial ambassadors, deal-brokers, recruiters and boosters. America has by far the world’s largest stock of immigrants, including significant numbers from just about every country on earth. Most assimilate quickly, but few sever all ties with their former homelands.

All of which makes the task of fixing America’s cumbersome immigration rules rather urgent. With unemployment still at nearly 10%, few politicians are brave enough to be seen encouraging foreigners to compete for American jobs.

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