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Boom in Yard Sales as Migrants Sell Off Belongings

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Tim Gaynor over at Reuters reports:

Nicaraguan mother Lorena Aguilar hawks a television set and a few clothes on the baking sidewalk outside her west Phoenix apartment block.

A few paces up the street, her undocumented Mexican neighbor Wendi Villasenor touts a kitchen table, some chairs and a few dishes as her family scrambles to get out of Arizona ahead of a looming crackdown on illegal immigrants.

"Everyone is selling up the little they have and leaving," said Villasenor, 31, who is headed for Pennsylvania. "We have no alternative. They have us cornered."

The two women are among scores of illegal immigrant families across Phoenix hauling the contents of their homes into the yard this weekend as they rush to sell up and get out before the state law takes effect on Thursday.

So, is this "Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses...and some incredible discounts after we throw them out?"

The state's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, signed the law in April in a bid to curb violence and cut crime stemming from illegal immigration.

However, Daniel Griswold, director of the Center for Trade Policy Studies
at the Cato Institute--no Abbie Hoffman-loving potheads, there--paints a different picture:

In a piece entitled "Unfounded Fear of Immigrant Crime Grips Arizona" Griswold writes:

"One big problem in the Arizona debate is that the perceptions about immigrants and crime do not square with the most basic data. After years of witnessing a rise in the number of illegal immigrants in their state, the people of Arizona are in reality less likely to be victims of crime than at any time in the past four decades.

According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, the violent crime rate in Arizona in 2008 was the lowest it has been since 1971; the property crime rate fell to its lowest point since 1966. In the past decade, as illegal immigrants were drawn in record numbers by the housing boom, the rate of violent crimes in Phoenix and the entire state fell by more than 20 percent, a steeper drop than in the overall U.S. crime rate.

According to a story in the Arizona Republic this month, the assistant police chief in Nogales, Roy Bermudez, "shakes his head and smiles when he hears politicians and pundits declaring that Mexican cartel violence is overrunning his Arizona border town. 'We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico,' Chief Bermudez says emphatically. 'You can look at the crime stats. I think Nogales, Arizona, is one of the safest places to live in all of America.'"

As for the galvanizing slaying of the rancher Richard Krentz in March, the Arizona Republic went on to report that, "according to the Border Patrol, Krentz is the only American murdered by a suspected illegal immigrant in at least a decade within the agency's Tucson sector, the busiest smuggling route among the Border Patrol's nine coverage regions along the U.S.-Mexican border."

In conclusion, Griswold writes:

Absent real reforms, ramped up enforcement will only drive illegal workers deeper underground, raise smuggling fees, and divert law enforcement resources away from apprehending real criminals who truly do threaten public safely.

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.