News reports continue to highlight the devastating effects of Alabama’s new immigration law on children, families, and entire industries. Meanwhile, supporters of the law, including anti-immigrant members of Congress and nativist organizations, seem quite comfortable with its destructive impact.
The Associated Press reported:
Alabama’s strict new immigration law may be backfiring. Intended to force illegal workers out of jobs, it is also driving away many construction workers, roofers and field hands in the country legally who do backbreaking jobs that Americans generally won’t. The vacancies have created a void that will surely deal a blow to the state’s economy and could slow the rebuilding of Tuscaloosa and other tornado-damaged cities.
And farmers have been complaining to bill sponsors that the new law is causing their crops to rot in the fields:
A sponsor of Alabama’s tough new immigration law told desperate tomato farmers Monday that he won’t change the law, even though they told him that their crops are rotting in the field and they are at risk of losing their farms.
Republican state Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale met with about 50 growers, workers, brokers and business people Monday at a tomato packing shed on Chandler Mountain in northeast Alabama. They complained that the new law, which went into effect Thursday, scared off many of their migrant workers at harvest time.
“The tomatoes are rotting on the vine, and there is very little we can do,” said Chad Smith, who farms tomatoes with his uncle, father and brother.
But according to the law’s supporters, these are exactly the sorts of consequences they expected and intended:
Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks (R) told Politico, “So these aren’t unintended consequences,” Brooks said. “We want illegal aliens out of the state of Alabama and I want illegal aliens out of the United States of America”
As Think Progress reported, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) also agreed with radio host Laura Ingraham that “enforcement works.” In response to her question about whether it is a bad thing that Latino kids have disappeared from schools, Sessions said: “All I would just say to you is that it’s a sad thing that we’ve allowed a situation to occur for decades that large numbers of people are in the country illegal and it’s going to have unpleasant, unfortunate consequences.”
Mark Krikorian, who heads the anti-immigration organization Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), wrote at the National Review, “The New York Times reports on an Alabama town where illegal aliens are getting the hint from the state’s new immigration law and leaving. It’s obviously presented as a terrible thing, but this is exactly the point of such measures — attrition through enforcement.”
As America’s Voice Education Fund explains in this report, “attrition through enforcement” is just another way of saying mass deportation. It’s playing out in Alabama today, and that’s what Sessions, Brooks, and Krikorian are applauding.