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Anti-illegal immigration groups confront upcoming presidential realities

June 23, 2008 |  8:59 am


Both John McCain and Barack Obama hold positions on immigration that are abhorrent to anti-immigration groups, writes The Times' Nicole Gaouette from Washington.

"Although heavily supported and highly organized, those who oppose illegal immigration suddenly find themselves without a champion," she writes.

Obama and McCain are seen as generally indistinguishable on the issue. McCain, though toughening his stance recently, has backed proposals providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Obama favors a similar mix of enforcement and legalization.

The staff of the Immigration Reform Law Institute has been working since 2002 to aid state legislators concerned about illegal immigration. Only this month, reports the Associated Press, the group filed a lawsuit against a property company in Plainfield, N.J.

The lawsuit accuses the company, Connolly Properties, of allowing so many undocumented tenants to live in its buildings that it amounted to unlawful harboring and should be considered a criminal enterprise that encouraged illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor says this morning that trends in illegal immigration, reduced by tighter border controls and raids on meatpacking plants and other establishments that employ high numbers of illegal immigrants, could be good for jobs in the United States.

If current moves to restrain illegal immigration trim that growth by 100,000 to 200,000 immigrants, it should have some effect on the nation's labor supply, notes University of Chicago economist Jeffrey Grogger. He's coauthor of a paper calculating that a 10 percent increase in the supply of a particular skill group caused by higher immigration prompted a reduction in the wages of similarly low-skilled black men by 4 percent between 1960 and 2000, lowered their employment rate by a huge 3.5 percentage points, and increased their incarceration rate by almost a full percentage point.

So, presumably, fewer low-skilled immigrants could gradually induce more work for low-skilled native Americans. Read on.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City

Photo: In Nogales, Ariz., National Guardsmen build a border road. Credit: Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press