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%