One of the things we were excited to investigate when we went to Alabama was to answer the question at the heart of the immigration debate: what does it cost taxpayers when we let in millions of immigrants, documented and undocumented? In Albertville, how much was it? We asked economist Kim Rueben and her colleague Erin Huffer to run the numbers.
Today's show came out of something we heard politicians saying.
We’ve visited Albertville, Alabama many times now, to figure out exactly what happened when the population shifted from 98% white in 1990, to a fourth Latino twenty years later.
In the early years, when immigrants first arrived in Albertville, the things that bothered the locals weren’t the things you usually hear about when people talk about immigration. Not jobs or wages or crime.
In 2012, the fever broke, and the Albertville city council stopped targeting Latino residents. The mayor says he and the council are taking a cue from the public schools.
Suddenly realizing just how many Latinos had moved to town, longtime residents jumped into action, fueled by a wave of national and statewide anti-immigration fever. Then in 2011, Alabama adopted the most extreme anti-immigrant law in the country.