Why has there Been a Heightened Focus in the South on Legislation to Combat Illegal Immigration?

The opponents of legislation to combat illegal immigration have assailed the sponsors of laws such as those adopted in Alabama, Georgia, and North Carolina as racist and rooted in the history of discrimination against blacks. Although this may be dismissed as the standard invective of open-borders advocates in their effort to intimidate anyone who opposes their agenda, it should be noted that there is an obvious reason for a heightened focus in the South on the impact of illegal aliens. The surge in illegal aliens during the first decade of this century has been much greater in the South than in the rest of the country.

Using the estimate of the illegal alien population in 2000 by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS – now incorporated into the Department of Homeland Security) with FAIR’s estimate for 2010, we find that Southern states (Ala., Ark., Ga., Ky., La., Miss., NC, SC, and Tenn.) experienced a 130% increase in the estimated illegal alien population over the decade (135% if Fla. is included). Over the same period, the rest of the country experienced an increase of 64% (60% if Fla. is included). It is clear from these estimates that the South was reeling from more than double the rate of increase in the illegal alien population experienced by the rest of the country.
The data (illegal aliens in thousands) are below:

Region                      INS-’00             FAIR-’10            Pct. Change
Southern states          595                      1,370                     130%
Rest of country          6,418                  10,530                     64%
Southern + Fla.           932                      2,190                    135%
Rest less Fla.             6,081                   9,710                      60%

About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    We need to see FAIR on TV talk shows….. it’s FREE When the discussion of illegal immigration or immigration of any nature, we need to see FAIR represented on TV…. not expensive ads!

  2. avatar

    Texans need to constantly contact the Texas Legislature and force them to pass e-verify and stop the sanctuary cities policies. In the last session, the Texas legislature did not even bring up these bills to be discussed and voted on. I assume they are all for open borders and letting illegals have all the jobs and free access to all services. I refuse to vote for anyone who served in the past Tx. legislature. People-stop voting for these open-border illegal loving legislators.

  3. avatar

    thank you Alabama, you are doing a job which, Obama/Holder/Napolitano/DOJ are not doing and all of them are illegally not doing their jobs, and all these traders should be indicted and sent to jail, for not upholding the law and doing the job they were put there to do. And we the people demand all of these people,resign or be held for treason. God bless American veterans and all American citizens

      • avatar

        There are plenty of “Laws”. There is no one anyone in Washington or in all of our 50 state legislative bodies who really care to stop this injustice being done to our country. The Pro Advocates for Amnesty just have to wave a briefcase of money in front of these legislatures and they follow the carrot offered completely ignoring those laws already on the books. No one cares about us middle class Americans folks. Let’s just face it – we are all on our own and corporations know that illegals will work for one half of our pay…. We’ve been robbed by illegal immigrants who have emptied our social programs pocketbooks so there is nothing left for us. We have to make jobs for ourselves somehow and try to recover what the huge corporations outsourced to their buddies in over seas countries or who saved low paying – under even minimum wages – to those illegals. It feels hopeless to me.

  4. avatar

    And why wouldn’t you include Florida when talking about the South? We get more illegals (of all ethnicities) than any of the other ‘Southern States’.

  5. avatar

    “Wake Up” Its not the illigal Aliens that have caused the problem its the greedy employers that hire them. If you are caught hiring a illigal rather than a american then you should lose the truck instantly and be put in jail. If this was brought in to effect then illigals would go home. But the obama goverment which is full of liberals and which we as voters should vote them all out but wont will get away with screwing the american people ever day in every way. Why is it that we dont here from any obama voters on what is happening to their country. We are the second “Titanic” Slipping under the waves real fast.All because of greed. “god bless the u s a. ‘ Ooops sorry but i am not allowed to say that anymore

    • avatar

      You are correct. Without greedy employers to hire them for low wages and no benefits, there would be no jobs for them. Then they would have no reason to come here. That would save us lots of tax payer money for the free medical and entitlements they receive with fraudulent ID’s

    • avatar

      Keep demanding E-Verify and demanding that it be strictly enforced, this will be an excellent bill to stop the spread of illegal aliens, but send them back to their native lands, as we stop offering them employment.

    • avatar

      Dave, you are correct fundamentally when you say it’s the greedy employers. The problem is, when the elite that supposedly govern this nation, are supposed to be guardians of this nation, (if one believes it is a nation and not a mere “economic zone”,) have an open borders policy of allowing millions of foreign nationals to enter America’s communities, with no thought in most cases of even assimilating, and even being protected by groups like the ACLU, SPLC, and various “ethnic interest groups, then Dave, people will surely react to what they see with their eyes, and experience with their minds. What should they do?

  6. avatar

    You forgot California! We are in dire straits with this Governor who now gives all the freebies to the children of people (mainly Latinos) who broke the law coming to this country in the first place, so naturally we heap goodies upon their children.

    • avatar

      If Mr. Brown is enabling illegals to infect the state with their presence, they keep in mind that illegals are in your state, because you have welcomed them into your midst. Vote for it, live with it. I moved, you make your own decision. If you are a taxpayer, move if you can and take your tax payments with you, to another state that wants
      E-Verify to gain their control of their job markets, support E-Verifiy! It bring the job market back to the citizens of the state. Do not welcome illegal aliens to your state.

      • avatar

        So you solved the problem by moving Ron. The next question logically is, where will you move to next, with that solution to the problem, when it becomes a problem again? I’m not saying your solution isn’t practical, it sure is, but it sure won’t help your fellow Americans when it comes to wage depression, job depression, loss of cultural adhesion because of the lefts misguided multicultural policies,etc. It’s good for you Ron, and as far as that goes, you have nothing else to say.

      • avatar

        Ron please remember that in the 90’s we Californians over whelmingly voted(70+%), to not allow social payments to illegals, the 9th district Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional and veto’d the law. Californians as other statemen will find out how repressed we are getting.

  7. avatar

    now that theyve left its time to get the wages back up to speed every state needs to get on board and do this or just say hey we dont want to be a state any more if you dont enforce our laws

  8. avatar

    Don’t hold your breath on this.. You’ll suffocate waiting for the Libs, Dems, and RINO’s to deal with this. We need to clean house on all of the aforementioned. And THEN we can deal with the illegal aliens, their offspring- to the nth generation- and sealing the border once and for all.
    (You’ll know it’s been successful when the Northern states start showing larger illegals problems. That is because they’ll go to Canada legally and come across-illegally- from there.)

  9. avatar

    Illegal aliens are destroying America, assisted by Washington’s Obama Administration. Without illegal alien families supported by tax dollars, Americans would have millions of jobs. Illegals are all working, while Americans sit around waiting for their next Obama unemployment check.

    Availablility of alien jobs, held by illegals, is a no brainer.
    Rick Perry, Gov Texas did almost nothing to stop illegals, gave all his much-vaunted job growth to illegal aliens.

    The real destructor of America is NAFTA/CAFTA that allows U.S. industries to go to China and elsewhere offshore,
    b uild the same products they built in our country, pay insignificant wages, pocket the rest, and send their products
    back into the United States without tariffs, to compete with domestic industries paying Amercan wages and benefits.

    • avatar

      I haven’t the slightest doubt though that Texans will vote for Perry again. STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES.

  10. avatar