If one looks at the recent Associated Press list of the ten U.S. cities with the highest unemployment rates, eight of them are in California, one Arizona, and one Florida. You could make the argument than nine of the ten cities have high populations of illegal immigrants and children of immigrants (Merced, Stockton, Fresno, Visalia, Hanford, etc., are all on the list with 15–17 percent unemployment rates). How do these figures reflect conventional wisdom that illegal aliens only gravitate to those areas where there is the greatest demand for workers to do plentiful jobs which idle Americans won’t do?
I know that new home construction is almost nonexistent now in the San Joaquin Valley and that has hurt illegal immigrants, but most farm prices are still at record highs. Economists can sort out the paradox, but the data confirms what one sees with the naked eye (my home seems to be at ground zero of the AP list): Where there are fewer jobs, there are lots more illegal aliens. One fears the process becomes circular: The more a jobless region in the past continued to attract foreign nationals, the higher the attendant entitlement, school, and law enforcement costs — and the less likely new employers wished to invest in the local landscape, where problems of education, crime, language skills, and legality make the operation less competitive.