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'Not a Positive Signal': The Economic Impact of Arizona's New Immigration Law

Published on Thu, May 06, 2010

Arizona's controversial new immigration law reflects a sharp political response to long-simmering conflict over immigration policy in a nation that takes pride in its history as a society built with the help of people from many lands.

Wharton faculty say the timing of the legislation is in part a reaction to stress brought on by the economic downturn, even as declining demand for labor has slowed immigration into the United States. While the statute has drawn widespread attention, faculty contend that it is unlikely to spur major change in broader immigration policy, at least in the near term. "It seems odd to me that this issue came up in Arizona now, given that the economy is so flat," says Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli, who suggests that Arizona politicians are looking for a "scapegoat" by "saying there are no jobs because of illegal workers. It's easy to blame immigrants."

Published in the UPenn's Wharton School | Read Article