• The Beason-Hammon Anti-immigration Bill “wasn’t supported by facts and wasn’t based on real economic theories and research.” – Dr. Keivan Deravi, an economics  professor at Auburn Montgomery and budget adviser to the Legislature.
  • “The law raises the ‘perception factor’ about the state and that capital investment ‘will tend to avoid Alabama relative to other Southern states. Specifically, how does it paint Alabama as a state willing, once again, to use state law to discriminate against politically unapproved groups? The law represents movement back in a populist direction I had hoped this Legislature would avoid.”  – Dr. Chris Westley, associate professor of economics at Jacksonville State University.
  • Anti-immigration laws like Alabama’s are jobs and economic growth killers. It’s a tried and failed approach that plays well politically, but is based on flawed economic logic. Immigration laws are a way to tarnish and scapegoat people who don’t look or sound like us.” – Dr. Scott Beaulier, executive director of the Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University

These are the professional opinions of economists from our local universities. However, like the federal judges, county commissions, editorial boards, church leaders,  and lawyers which have expressed opposition to Beason-Hammon, they “absolutely, positively wrong” according to Sen. Scott Beason. For the Republican Legislators have special knowledge (or decoder rings).

In Beason’s mind,

Beason said the checks would get rid of illegal workers that are taking jobs that should go to legal Alabama residents. This is a jobs bill.

However, this runs contrary to studied evidence. As Michigan economics professor Mark Perry says,

“There is no fixed pie or fixed number of jobs, so there is no way for immigrants to take away jobs from Americans. Immigrants expand the economic pie.”

According to Jeremy Thornton, an economics professor at Samford University’s Brock School of Business,  the law is

one of the “rare examples” where there is no economic benefit, only setbacks. “The state will be poorer because of this bill.”

Beason’s arguments reveal a very primitive understanding economic theory. As stated by this study:

[Researchers] show that the U.S. economy is dynamic, not static as many critics of immigration either assume or at least appear to argue. “While our modeling suggests that there would be reductions in the number of jobs for U.S. workers in low-skilled occupations, this does not mean that unemployment rates for these U.S. workers would rise,” according to [researchers] Dixon and Rimmer. “With increases in low-skilled immigration, the U.S. economy would expand, creating more jobs in higher-skilled areas. Over time, some U.S. workers now in low-paying jobs would move up the occupational ladder, actually reducing the wage pressure on low-skilled U.S. workers who remain in low-skilled jobs.”

According to Samford Economics Professor Thornton:

Thornton said there are assumptions that enforcement of immigration law will provide jobs for out-of-work Alabamians. However, that’s known as the “lump of labor fallacy,” which refers to the idea that there is a fixed number of jobs. However, he said that’s like saying a football team can only score a certain number of points in a game.

In fact, the economists are correct Beason has it completely backwards:

Critics of immigration assume a zero-sum game, whereby every illegal immigrant deported from the country opens up one of a fixed number of jobs, which would then be filled by a U.S.-born worker. That’s not how things work. Dixon and Rimmer (and other economists) point out that low-skilled workers can help make the U.S. workforce more productive. “Under policies that increase the number of low-skilled immigrants, the occupational mix of U.S. workers shifts in a way that increases their overall productivity. In contrast, reducing the supply of low-skilled immigrants “draws Americans into less productive, lower-paying jobs than they would have occupied otherwise.” In addition, changes in the U.S. labor supply affect the amount of capital invested in the economy.

Remember in February when the Republicans said:

‘There is no single issue more important to me than putting Alabamians back to work and growing our economy.”

He went on to add, “Everything that we do in this session needs to be about creating jobs. If it doesn’t create a job then it kind of needs to go down a level because that’s what we need in this state.”

Considering the analysis of these economist,  job creationdethroning the AEA” and getting payback was the number one priority of the Republican Legislature . (That job-creation thingy can be a priority next year, according to Marsh and Hubbard.)

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