Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For

Howling Latina has been a lonely voice in the wilderness shouting, "Repent, repent and mend you ways" when blogging about immigration policy in Virginia, and especially in Prince William County.

Now, thanks to Raising Kaine, she came across an excellent article in The New York Times that talks about the economic pitfalls that accompany towns with draconian immigration laws.

To illustrate, it seems that after a small town in New Jersey enacted "legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant." their booming economy collapsed. It had been built on the backs of mostly undocumented immigrants and once the legal poop hit the fan, sort've speak, they cleared out of town.
With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.

Meanwhile, the town was hit with two lawsuits challenging the law. Legal bills began to pile up, straining the town’s already tight budget. Suddenly, many people — including some who originally favored the law — started having second thoughts.

So last week, the town rescinded the ordinance, joining a small but growing list of municipalities nationwide that have begun rethinking such laws as their legal and economic consequences have become clearer.
Of course, the small town of 8,000 on the wrong side of the Delaware River will be paying for their folly for years to come. So far, the town of 8,000 has had to fork $82,000 in legal fees and with loss of revenues from businesses, the Township of Riverside had to delay "road paving projects, the purchase of a dump truck and repairs to town hall."

Now, as a real estate agent, Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas) must be acutely aware at just how far real estate prices have dropped in the city of Manassas; and no doubt, his overblown hype had more than a little something-something to do with it.

On the one hand, the very people Miller would like to keep in his district are the likeliest to flee to the safety of even further out exurbs. Get me out of here -- and QUICK!

And certainly, any prospective home buyer with a similar worldview would want to avoid the menacing threat that living in PWC imparts with all those dangerous illegals.

On the other side of the equation, someone needs to pick up the slack when a stampede of former Jackson supporters wave good-bye. But with all the Latino bashing, you can't very well expect documented workers to rush into the warmth of racist local pols.

Let's face it, ever since GOPers like Miller started making a big stink about foreigners, property values started to plummet above and beyond neighboring counties; and they will continue to do so.

Homes that only a year ago sold for over $300,000 can't get a contract at $250,000. After all, who is going to buy these homes??? Certainly no one who has watched the market slide would willingly travel an extra 15-20 miles for the pleasure of watching their largest asset take a nose-dive.

Yes siree, nice going Republican hacks; and a special shout out to all the folks who've been whipping up the media frenzy. Just try to sell your home for more than the market place when Republicans took over the General Assembly in 1999.

Guess what? Racism is bad for real estate and the local economy.

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