Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Listen up conservatives: free market is dealing with immigration; punitive actions are not needed

Conservatives who believe in the power of free market capitalism should extend their faith in the system when it comes to immigration.

The Wall Street Journal reports tonight that money remmittances to Mexico continue to decline. The Journal has previously reported that the number of immigrants returning to Latin America due to the declining economy continues to rise.

Punitive local and national actions like 287g and ICE raids are not needed. And they cost a lot of taxpayer money when there is none to waste.

Here is what The Journal reports tonight:

The amount of money that Mexicans working in the U.S. sent back home dropped 3.6% in 2008, as the rising U.S. jobless rate took a toll on immigrants. It was the first decline in remittances recorded since Mexico began tracking money flows from abroad 13 years ago.

The drop to $25 billion from $26 billion in 2007, reported Tuesday by Mexico's Central Bank, is nearly twice what the government forecast. It could foreshadow a bad year ahead for Mexico. After oil, remittances are Mexico's second-biggest source of hard currency, ahead of tourism and manufactured goods, two other suffering sectors.

Indeed, on Tuesday, Mexican Central Bank chief Guillermo Ortiz predicted Mexico's annual economic output will shrink this year between 0.8% and 1.8%, after growing a moderate 1.5% in 2008.

Mexico's remittance woes aren't unique. Hunter College researcher Margaret M. Chin, who surveys immigrants in New York, reports Lunar New Year remittances to China are showing an average decline of 20% this year. She says many restaurant workers, livery drivers and others in the service economy have had to cut back on the number of hours they work each week.

That shift has led to a broad contraction of employment opportunities for immigrants across the U.S. economy. In December, the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center reported 239,000 immigrant Hispanics joined the ranks of the U.S. unemployed during the year ending with the third quarter of 2008. Almost 100,000 jobs were in construction alone, the Pew report estimated.

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