It's neither wise nor realistic to advocate expelling 8-9% of Texas' workforce. How can anyone think it would be? Nor is it wise to harass them or keep them as second class citizens. For that matter, it's unwise to forbid them from getting a drivers license, which means they can't buy auto insurance.
Between 8 percent and 9 percent of the Texas workforce is estimated to be in the country illegally, according to an analysis of 2005 U.S. Census data by the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center done for The Dallas Morning News. That's nearly twice the national average of about 5 percent.
So a crackdown on employers in Texas – in agriculture and construction in particular, where the percentage of workers is higher – could have a major impact, some analysts and employers say.
According to the state comptroller's office, illegal immigration drained hundreds of millions from local governments in fiscal year 2005 but provided a boost of nearly $17.7 billion to the state.
"To do anything to dramatically reduce the Texas workforce would have pretty severe consequences," said Ray Perryman, an economist with the Perryman Group, an economic and financial analysis firm in Waco.
While the comptroller said illegal immigration costs hundreds of millions to local governments in Texas, the billions gained by the state overall show that's not a problem with immigration per se, but a mis-allocation of resources caused by restrictions on immigration. If currently "illegal" immigrants working here were allowed to get drivers licenses, car insurance, social security numbers and pay taxes, those problems for the most part could be resolved.
We can't and won't expel that much of Texas' work force - it would be practically impossible and economically devastating - so most of those folks, like it or not, will end up staying in Texas by hook or by crook. Self-described "conservatives" must make a choice: They can be either anti-"amnesty" or pro-business, but they cannot be both.