Impact of undocumented on local biz

U.S. Customs and Border Protection bike patrol agents in Nogales, Ariz.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS State and local governments have been famously tackling immigration matters. Think Arizona and its law that aims to identify
illegals immigrants. There are quite a few places where passing laws to crack down on illegals affects local businesses.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


MITCHELL HARTMAN: Cornell sociologist Max Pfeffer recently briefed members of Congress on the local immigration enforcement trend.

MAX PFEFFER: What they've done is move more into the regulatory mode.

With more than 200 new laws last year punishing employers who hire undocumented workers and making cops check for legal status.

Tamar Jacoby runs ImmigrationWorks, a business advocacy group. She says "enforcement-only" approaches like Arizona's are counterproductive.

TAMAR JACOBY: So the threat of boycotts and tourism diminishing is very real to businesses around the country. But the other thing that we're seeing in Arizona and other states that tried to crack down on immigration, is workers fleeing the state.

Economist Ray Perryman says the undocumented contribute more as workers, consumers and taxpayers than they cost in government services.

RAY PERRYMAN: There's a net positive benefit that pretty much cuts across the entire economy.

Perryman concludes if you removed all undocumented workers it would cost the U.S. economy $650 billion or nearly 5 percent of GDP.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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