One of the standard arguments against a staunch enforcement of existing illegal immigration laws has been the canard that "you can't deport 12 million people." We're now seeing a great refutation of that argument -- if you make the environment inhospitable enough for illegal aliens, a lot of them will deport themselves.
We see a classic example of that in today's Boston Globe. Their latest lament is for the poor, beleaguered Brazilian population of Massachusetts. It appears that a confluence of factors are encouraging more and more Brazilians who came to the Bay State to improve their lives to reconsider that decision -- and head back home.
First up is the economy. Brazil's currency, the real, has gained in strength against the dollar. That means that dollars sent to Brazil are buying about half of what they used to buy.
Next up, though, is the lack of accomodation for illegal aliens. Simply ignoring the law has grown harder and harder.
Of course, the Globe doesn't come out and say that. One has to crack the code they use.
(Emphasis added in all quotes)
That decline, plus a surging Brazilian economy, is making Brazilians reassess the hardships of living in the United States, apart from their families, in a country where it is often difficult to be an immigrant, even for someone with a residence permit like Neto.
Translation: it's hard for the legal ones, so it's even harder for the illegal ones.
The 2000 US Census listed 39,000 people of Brazilian descent living in the state; the number grew to 73,000 in 2006, according to the American Community Survey, an annual population survey by the US Census Bureau. But that number does not include Brazilians living here without proper documentation. Some estimates put the total number of Brazilian immigrants as high as 230,000.
Translation: over 2/3 of the Brazilians in Massachusetts are there illegally. Grab a random Brazilian and deport them summarily; you've got a pretty good chance of bouncing an illegal.
Brazilians are the second-fastest growing group of illegal immigrants in the United States, and many were deeply disappointed last summer when Congress failed to pass a bill that would have given millions of immigrants a chance to apply for legal esidency.
Translation: illegal aliens loved the amnesty bill that Congress killed last year.
"It has a lot to do with a lack of hope, too," Da Rocha said. "When Deval Patrick was elected governor, there was a lot of hope that things would get better for immigrants, but they have gotten worse. A high percentage of workers do not have immigration papers, and they need a car to get to work. So they are driving without documents, and the State Police are stopping them and reporting them."
Translation: a lot of immigrants holding jobs are illegal, and they're also ignoring the laws about getting drivers' licenses and registering and insuring their cars, and when the cops catch them breaking those laws, they are getting charged with that.
At two jewelry stores in downtown Framingham, business has dropped dramatically. Geni Luz, manager of Joyce Jewelry, said the store has seen 40 percent fewer customers in the past year than previously, because they have returned to Brazil.
"They say they are going back because they don't want to say here illegally, without a driver's license and Social Security," Luz said. "They were hoping the immigration bill would pass, but it didn't."
Joao Freites, owner of Vera Jewelers, said dozens of his regular customers have gone back to Brazil.
"We started to feel this at the beginning of last year," he said. "Then, when the immigration bill didn't go through, people were very disappointed and started buying tickets."
Translation: when it became clear that there would be no amnesty, a lot of illegal aliens started self-deporting themselves. They stuck around hoping for amnesty, but when that went south, so did they.
Let me sum this up: in Massachusetts, over two-thirds of all the Brazilians are there illegally. They hold jobs illegally, drive to and from those jobs without licenses in unregistered and uninsured cars, and were thrilled when it looked like they would be granted amnesty and allowed to stay here without paying any penalty for their violations of so many federal and state laws. Then, when it became apparent that there would be no amnesty, a lot of them are not wasting any more government resources in rounding up and deporting them, and are choosing to deport themselves. This is freeing up jobs for Americans and legal immigrants; removing unlicensed drivers from the roads; removing unregistered, uninspected, and uninsured cars from the roads; and reinforcing the rule of law and pushing respect for the law.
And somehow, this is a bad thing to the Boston Globe.