A senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta who specializes in immigration issues said that the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S. eliminated any chance that Congress will grant amnesty to illegal aliens who are in this country.

          “All hopes of an amnesty program for undocumented immigrants, which Vicente Fox, president of Mexico, pushed very hard for when he was here in early September – they’re gone,” said Madeline Zavodny, senior economist for the Atlanta Fed, who has written extensively on immigration issues.

          There are 5 million illegal aliens in the U.S. of whom 3.5 million are from Mexico. “They’re going to be in limbo,” Dr. Zavodny said.

          The hijackers who crashed three passenger airliners in New York, Pennsylvania and suburban Washington, killing more than 5,000 people, were all visitors from the Middle East.

          In regard to the impact of Sept. 11 on immigration, Dr. Zavodny said that legislation will likely be introduced in Congress to “restrict both legal and illegal immigration.”

          She said she also expected legislation to require the federal government to tighten up its monitoring of movements of all foreign visitors.

          “Right now we don’t keep track of who exits,” she said. “When you come in, the government is supposed to keep track of where people are to make sure people are leaving when their visas have expired,” she said.

          Zavodny’s comments on Sept. 11’s impact on immigration came in answer to a question after she spoke to the Atlanta Economics Club. In her talk, Zavodny said, “I’m an unabashed fan of immigration.”

          She sought to counter arguments that immigration harmed the country, saying, for example, that foreign-born residents do not appear to abuse welfare programs.

          She showed charts that indicated 2.2 percent of the U.S.-born population received welfare benefits and that only 0.8 percent of foreign-born residents were getting that type of assistance.

          Contact Dr. Zavodny at (404) 498-8977.