This week, we’ve written a number of pieces on the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case of anti-immigrant ordinances in Farmers’ Branch, Texas and Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Deprived of further opportunities for appeal, these anti-immigrant laws have effectively reached the end of their journey, after the towns that implemented them spent millions of dollars and seven years defending them in court. That’s effectively the cost of listening to Kris Kobach’s bad advice.
Right Wing Watch today, in a piece called “The Cost of Being Kris Kobach’s Guinea Pig,” has more on this consequence. On both a local and national level, in both political and economic terms, it just doesn’t pay to be anti-immigrant:
In August, the Dallas Morning News reported that Farmers Branch, a town of 29,000 people, had already spent $6 million defending the law since it was first passed in 2006, and expected to pay $2 million in legal fees for its opponents if it lost in the courts. The town has already been forced to cut back in other areas of its budget in order to keep up with the costs of defending the ordinance, despite a $500,000 contribution from real estate heir Trammell Crow.
Meanwhile, Hazleton reported last year that it had spent nearly $500,000 on legal fees since 2006, financed mostly from donations from an online fundraising campaign, along with a $50,000 gift from Crow. But the Hazleton Standard Speaker reports today that the city’s legal defense fund has dried up and it’s facing the possibility of paying millions of dollars in legal fees for civil rights groups that challenged the law. The town of 25,000 faces these costs on top of a pension fund deficit of over $28 million…
States that push Kobach’s harsh anti-immigrant laws have also faced enormous costs. Arizona spent millions of dollars defending SB1070 before it was ultimately largely struck down by the Supreme Court, and lost an estimated $23 million in tax revenue and $350 in direct spending from a resulting economic boycott.