Enforcement And Virtuous Circles: The Maryland Story
January 16, 2011, 01:55 PM
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In July, 2006, Mayor Lou Barletta of Hazleton, Pennsylvania put his town on the map with a city ordinance to discourage the presence of illegal aliens. That September, Barletta told the Washington Times (Towns take a local approach to blocking illegal aliens, [author not given], September 21, 2006) that roughly half of the 10,000 Hispanics living in Hazleton when the ordinance was enacted had departed.

[Barletta is now a member of the 2010 freshman wave of congressional Republicans, representing Pennsylvania's 11th District. Meanwhile, Hazleton's ordinance has been blocked by the federal court, and it will probably wind up before the Supremes.]

There have similar tales of exodus from other cities (e.g. Valley Park, Missouri) and states (Oklahoma and Arizona) following the passage of laws to deter illegal immigration, even when those laws have wound up under injunction.

But where have the (presumably) illegal-alien-heavy flows gone?

I recall predictions from before the flows began that, if we could only get them going, we'd be rewarded by an avalanche effect, a virtuous circle: A law to repel illegal aliens in jurisdiction A would lead to a rush of illegal aliens out of A into jurisdiction B, which would respond to the unpleasant influx with its own law, leading to a rush out of B into jurisdiction C, etc.

Altogether, this would be one aspect of the larger strategy of "attrition by enforcement", whereby illegal aliens would be systematically extruded from our country by steady enforcement of our immigration laws.

Now there's evidence that the second stages in those avalanches are happening.

Here's a heartening excerpt from Janice Kephart's new Center for Immigration Studies backgrounder, REAL ID Implementation: Less Expensive, Doable, and Helpful in Reducing Fraud [PDF] [HTML]:

States that had chosen not to comply with REAL ID and not require legal presence found themselves, like Maryland in 2008, overwhelmed with illegal alien applications at their DMVs. The education, health, and human resources budgets were being run into the red from illegal aliens embedding in Maryland because of lax driver’s license standards, according to senior state officials, and the DMVs were overloaded with out-of-state and out-of-country requests for license application interviews.

In fact, Maryland, originally quite vocal in speaking out against REAL ID implementation, decided instead, in 2008, with a push from Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley in a late-night legislative session, to force REAL ID compliance language through the Maryland General Assembly; the details are described in my April 22, 2009 blog, �MD Faces Music on Drivers Licenses.� Maryland is now 100 percent compliant less than a year and a half later, and is no longer hearing complaints about fraud and waste from its DMV. In fact, the first day of implementation of lawful status rules saw the cancellation of 8,000 application interviews.

[Link in original. And worth reading!]

Immigration is an enormous subject, so it happens that Kephart's new paper was the first I knew of "the Maryland story" . In an earlier blog entry, Kephart had given some notable details, circa December, 2008:

Apparently, the world has been calling Maryland to get driver licenses. One of only four states (the others being New Mexico, Hawaii, and Washington) which still issue illegal immigrants driver licenses, and the only state on the east coast, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administrator John Kuo testified yesterday before the state legislature that his agency needs to shore up its defenses against mounting crime that he says is coming from the increased out-of-state demand from illegal immigrants seeking Maryland driver licenses. Calling his state a �pass-through� for illegal immigrants attempting to obtain driver licenses and IDs to better embed in the United States, his agency received over 300,000 out-of-state (and out-of-country) requests for application appointments just last year.

Evidently Hawaii has now cleaned up its act, too, as Kephart's new backgrounder lists just New Mexico and Washington as illegal-alien-compliant jurisdictions. (And Washington is now actually fairly tough).

And New Mexico is next to illegal-alien-repelling Arizona. Hmmm.

Well, it turns out, New Mexico started to notice, too, shortly after Arizona's latest tool against illegal immigration (i.e. SB1070) was enacted. In (Gov. hopefuls draw line on immigrant license issue (Santa Fe New Mexican, October 8, 2010) reporter Kate Nash wrote:

New Mexico issued 10,257 licenses to immigrants through the first six months of 2010, compared with 13,481 for all of 2009, the Associated Press reported. The pace at which licenses have been issued has intensified since April, when the Arizona law passed.

According to Nash, both candidates, Republican Susana Martinez and Democrat Diane Denish, wanted to end New Mexico's practice of allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses. The winner, Martinez, seems to be intent on keeping this campaign promise.

[Side query: Has there been a prior case of a gubernatorial election wherein both major-party candidates were women?]