The Economic Impact of Alabama HB 56 in the US
The Economic Impact of Alabama HB 56 in the U.S.
[Student’s Full Name]
Before starting to assess the effects of the HB 56 Law, we shall expand on the event’s background to provide a rationale for the event. As well as showing the reasons behind Alabama’s lawmakers on conceiving the law.
In June 2011, Alabama passed the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act, dubbed HB 56. The law required schools to check the immigration state of its students; banning undocumented students from any form of postsecondary education. The Act, takes its form from the recent Arizona immigration law, dubbed SB 1070. However, while Arizona’s law can be considered racist, as it racially profiles individuals and convict them, based only on the fact they look “foreign”; HB 56 criminalizes immigration itself.
Benson-Hammon Act instructs police officers to demand a proof of identification, or immigration status for any individual that might be considered residing illegally in the Alabama state. That way, anyone suspected of illegal residence could be subject to a routine search and stripped from its social benefits (Baxter, 2012). Nevertheless, although the measure can be perceived as draconian, it stems from the fact that many American residents in the Alabama state consider that immigrants are taking the jobs they could be doing. In our essay, we shall show how that fear is inconsistent, and the law was passed more as a way to deter potential immigrants, and routing those who are already in the state.
Also, not only are adult immigrants destinies at stake. Children are also receiving their share of HB 56. Section 28 of the Act states that schools have to police the enrolment of students in order to determine whether they were born outside the United States, as to determine if the children are lawfully present in the country or are aliens. That way, at the time of the enrollment, parents must show their children’s birth certificate, and 30 days to prove their immigration status (ACLU, 2012).
In this essay, we shall expand on the social and economic impact of Alabama HB 56 in the United States. We shall expand on how the law instead of bolstering the opportunities of American citizens in securing jobs in the state of Alabama, drawn the nation into an economic recession. In the same way, we shall recount the issue of immigration and the many immigrants who lost their homes and jobs because of HB 56.
The Economic Impact of HB 56
The bottom line of HB 56 is that the state of Alabama is losing workers. According to the American Immigration Council (AIC). Unauthorized immigrants comprise 4.2% of the state’s workforce (AIC, 2011). This 4.2% or 95,000 workers are being driven out of the land or underground as a direct result of the Act. What many Americans fail to see is that those immigrants; that 4.2% of the population is the backbone of the state’s farming economy. In the same way, it is the farming and agricultural industry the one suffering the most from the Act. In Alabama’s one-fifth of all jobs come from the farming and agricultural industry, and by removing a substantial amount of workers from such an important part of the state’s GDP, the population is likely to suffer the consequences.
Also, the law stems from a narrow point of view, as it considers immigrants, both skilled and unskilled, a source of problems when they are, in fact, helping the state’s economy. Immigrants, regardless their legal state, are a source of income. They create jobs; enrich the state’s culture and provide diversity to the state’s composition. Also, they mostly work in unskilled trades that provide vital resources to the community. Another important fact related to agricultural industry and immigrants is that those jobs immigrants perform are those Americans refuse to do. More often than not, immigrants work backbreaking jobs under the sun for a small wage that most Americans would not accept (Sarlin, 2013). This, of course, is not the ideal situation, but many immigrants prefer performing those duties to the possibility of returning to their homelands.
In the same light, according to the Center for American Progress, thanks to HB 56, Alabama could lose up to $10.8 billion, which amounts to 6.2% of the state’s GDP (Baxter, 2012). Also, we have previously stated that 95,000 workers are being driven out of the state, but that amount could increase to 140,000 if we take the employments generated by immigrants into account. Besides, we should not forget taxes, and the tax revenues immigrant laborers generate, direct, or indirectly. Without those immigrants, and their contributions, the state might be losing up to $130 million on taxes only in the next few years.
On the other hand, there is a key issue on the economic impact of HB 56 in the country. The act prohibited courts within the state of Alabama from enforcing existing contracts between immigrants and private workers (Aysa-Lastra & Cachon, 2015). This means that immigrants and residents cannot execute contracts among each other. However, in practice this situations are not well defined and the law has resulted in situations where immigrants cannot acquire goods such as houses or cars because business owners cannot sell to immigrants, or they might lose their licenses. A situation like that does not only mean a shrinkage in the corporate sector, but it also represents a rampant discrimination toward immigrants
This represents an enormous burden on the state, as it shrinks its economic potential, making the state less likely to attract potential investors or skilled farmhands. Without going too far, this income reduction does not only affect business, owners. The results of HB 56 affect the common citizens who not only suffer from the shortage of products but the lack personal income and fewer jobs.
That way, even the strongest advocates of HB 56 have to understand that if Americans are not interested in performing “menial” tasks such as: picking vegetables; packing meat; working on poultry farms, or in construction sites HB 56 is not likely to work. That way, the law would turn into a prosecution of immigrants, as not only South American immigrants would be stopped. Under HB 56, every immigrant is a potential suspect.
Alabama’s HB 56 is not only a harsh anti-immigration law. It also represents the sentiments of many Americans who consider that immigrants jeopardize their possibilities of landing and securing jobs. In the same way, it opens a door for racism and bigotry to expand within the country. In the same way, passing a law that forbids people from offering services; renting, or even giving a ride to undocumented immigrants is almost inhuman. Instead of admitting that Alabama holds a symbiotic relationship with immigrants, the state’s lawmakers have decided to drive away an important part of the workforce.
The reality is that most of the jobs immigrants have left are not going to be taken back by Americans and Alabama can expect nothing but recession if the lawmakers remain as close-minded as they have been.
The Great Recession, Immigration Enforcement, and Latino Immigrants in Alabama. (2015). In M. Aysa-Lastra & L. Cachón (Eds.), Immigrant vulnerability and resilience: Comparative perspectives on Latin American immigrants during the Great Recession (1st ed.). Springer.
Baxter, T. (2012, February 1). Alabama’s Immigration Disaster. Retrieved August 18, 2015, from https://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/issues/2012/02/pdf/alabama_immigration_disaster.pdf
How Alabama’s Anti-Immigrant Law Stifles State Economy. (2011, November 9). Retrieved August 18, 2015, from http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/bad-business-how-alabama’s-anti-immigrant-law-stifles-state-economy
Preliminary Analysis of HB 56 “Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act”. (2012). Retrieved August 18, 2015, from https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/prelimanalysis_alabama_hb56.pdf Sarlin, B. (2014, May 9). How America’s harshest immigration law failed. Retrieved August 18, 2015, from http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/undocumented-workers-immigration-alabama