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Louisiana Governor Tries to Get Involved in Immigration Issues

screenshot of Louisiana immigration fact sheet

You had to dig a little in a March 20 New York Times article on Texas’ efforts to empower its state police to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants to see how it applied to Louisiana. 

Yes, Louisiana has sent members of its National Guard to Texas to help defend the border, but in the sixth paragraph of a story on Iowa passing a law similar to Texas, David W. Chen wrote, “Kansas and Oklahoma are among the states that this year have introduced legislation related to illegal entry into the United States, echoing the law in Texas. Louisiana became the most recent on Monday. And Missouri has two bills, including one sponsored by State Senator Bill Eigel, who is one of the leading candidates for governor this year.”

It’s hard not to view this decision by Governor Jeff Landry cynically. After all, Louisiana does not have a border to defend from immigrants (although Brett Anderson’s excellent story on our disappearing coast from 2014 says we could stand to defend it from erosion). In fact, studies repeatedly show that immigrants are good for Louisiana and the other 49 states. 

An American Immigration Council fact sheet on Louisiana with 2021 data shows that only 4.3 percent of the state's population are immigrants—199,008 residents—and that they paid $1.6 billion in taxes and have $4.7 billion in spending power. Studies show that immigrants tend to be entrepreneurial, and in Louisiana there were 19,042 immigrant entrepreneurs with a total business income of $584.9 million.

In short, Landry’s efforts to join Texas’ attempt to claim federal power to enforce immigration law including the ability to detain and deport are shortsighted at best, fighting to keep an asset out to fight a problem Louisiana doesn’t have.

For more on the AIC fact sheet on Louisiana or other states, visit

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