2006 July 11 Tuesday
Local Immigration Law Enforcement Ideas Spread

Avon Park Florida is very likely to pass an ordinance patterned after that of Hazleton Pennsylvania to fine landlords who rent to illegal aliens and to deny business permits to businesses that hire illegals.

A city up north, Hazleton, Pa., planned to root out and punish landlords who rented to illegal immigrants, fining them $1,000 for every such tenant. Mr. Macklin, whose own small city has swelled with immigrants from Mexico, Haiti and Jamaica over the past decade, swiftly proposed the same for Avon Park.

"It was almost as if I was sitting in church at a revival and he was preaching to me," Mr. Macklin said of Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton, whom he heard promoting that city's Illegal Immigration Relief Act on the radio show last month. "If we address the housing issue make it as difficult as possible for illegals to find safe haven in Avon Park then they are going to have to find someplace else to go."

Like Hazleton's proposal, Avon Park's would deny business permits to companies that knowingly hired illegal immigrants.

Some of the employers of illegals are orange groves and cattle ranches outside of town. Therefore they may escape the business permit ordinance's reach. But their illegals won't be able to live in Avon Park if this ordinance is passed and enforced.

I can identify with their wistfulness. I miss the days when Hispanic gangs didn't deface my neighborhood with graffiti.

Both mayors, white baby boomers who grew up in the 1960's and 70's, speak wistfully of the days when nuclear families were the only occupants of single-family homes in their towns, every resident paid taxes and English was the only language heard on the streets. Mr. Macklin said the City of Charm, as Avon Park has long called itself, no longer met that description, despite the gazebo and shuffleboard courts on Main Street, several dainty lakes and ubiquitous live oaks.

"When people come to our area," he said, "they see degrading neighborhoods, homes falling down among themselves, four or five vehicles parked in yards. There's a perception for those that come to this area looking to perhaps expand a business, move here that it might not necessarily be where they want to be."

Why can mayors recognize truths that economists fail to see? See Steve Sailer's "Economists On Immigration: What's The Matter?" and also see his "An economist's faith is shaken".

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 July 11 10:25 PM  Immigration Law Enforcement

John S Bolton said at July 12, 2006 2:41 AM:

Many economists like to believe that competition is always economic, but there does exist non-economic, and dis-economic competition.
One can't just define competition as economic only, just because it simplifies a theoretical treatment.
The mayors have to deal with influxes which throw their costs onto the net taxpayer.
The correct political approach is to minimize the aggression within the jurisdiction for which the decision is to be made.
Economists have a way of pretending that the mayors should put the global utility above the local net taxpayer.
When aggression is involved, conflicts of interest multiply in all directions.
An economist may prefer the simplicity of considering the global utility, as if such conflicts of interest did not exist.
This all the more nonsensical for leftists and many liberals, who see conflict of interests as an irreducible law of life.

David F. Prenatt, Jr. said at July 18, 2006 6:38 PM:

While this may not apply to you, the vast majority of people who complain about illegal immigrants are xenophobes who secretly harbor anti-immigrant and anti-minority sentiments. Xenophobes tend to conflate and demonize these three groups of people, and it seems pretty naive for someone to argue that the Hazleton ordinance will not be used to persecute United States citizens and legal residents who happen to be Latinos.

I might add: Hazleton was on the verge of economic extinction when the Latino population began to increase, open businesses, and helped raise the value of homes, and there was actually a *DROP* in the crime rate in Hazleton, which had a thriving illegal drug trade prior to the dramatic increases in the Latino population. Now, Hazleton is destined to die under the weight of the litigation it has invited from civil rights groups; if not, it will die without the Latinos who revitalized its economy.

Bob Badour said at July 19, 2006 6:00 AM:


I disagree with your generalized dismissal of anyone who opposes open immigration. Large blocks of immigrants who refuse to assimilate or to learn the local language are universally xenophobes who distrust all other cultures.

Those who oppose open immigration note that some immigrant groups enhance the polity while others degrade it. That hardly suggests xenophobia because a xenophobe would fear all immigrant groups.

Randall Parker said at July 19, 2006 3:28 PM:


You can manufacture any explanations you want to explain away views you disagree with. Slap on the label "xenophobe". It is pretty easy to do. I could make an empirical case against Hispanic immigration (and in fact I have). But I'm guessing your mind is made up.

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