Sunday, March 25, 2012

Local immigration cost

The irony is too much. Farmers Branch, Texas, believes that undocumented immigrants cost the city too much in services. Before going further, I should note that the mayor acknowledges that "We're trying to solve a problem that people perceive to have" as opposed to "We have empirical evidence about a problem." But I digress.

It appears the city's solution to the costs of undocumented immigrants is to spend $5 million accomplishing nothing. In other words, the way to address immigration issues is to shift money from the city to lawyers.

A Dallas suburb has spent five years and nearly $5 million trying to ban illegal immigrants from renting apartments within city limits, but court challenges have kept the law from taking effect. Still, city officials say they’re likely to press on. 

I suppose there are now sunk costs, both political and economic. Once you've spent $5 million that you can never get back, then you don't feel you can cut your losses without an uproar, so you double down and keep going. What that does, though, is put taxpayers in a constant spiral of waste.

Further, spending money sends the signal that you are doing something, even if you are not actually accomplishing anything. That has been a core element in immigration policy at all levels in recent years.


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