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Getting clobbered by the immigration reform

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By Sherry Robinson

In my household, we’ve faced the budget-busting, savings-emptying need to reroof. Twice. Each time there was a lot of Spanish spoken up on the roof and Mexican pop tunes wafting into the neighborhood.

Did we inquire whether those workers were legal? Nope. Are you kidding? For American roofers, the costs would have been even higher. If you’ve stayed in a hotel, bought a house or eaten in a restaurant, you too have benefited from cheap ­— and probably illegal — labor.

So, yes, we need to get a grip on illegal immigration, but we also have to face up to certain economic realities. Otherwise, we’ll be clobbered by unintended consequences.

Arizona’s new law turned up the heat on immigration reform. We’ve heard about law and potential abuses, but what are the economic implications?

Typically, one side argues that undocumented workers pay taxes and work in jobs nobody else wants; the other side counters that the cost of services eclipses tax revenues from mostly uneducated, low earners who depress wages and take jobs from uneducated Americans.


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