Arizona’s hard-hitting immigration law is driving Hispanics out of the state weeks before the controversial law goes into effect.
Although concrete figures are not available, anecdotal evidence suggests Hispanics, both legal residents and illegal immigrants, are starting to flee.
Schools in Hispanic neighborhoods are reporting abnormal enrollment drops, and businesses that serve Hispanics also report that business is down, according to a USA Today report published Wednesday.
The report suggests that the immigration law is compounding demographic trends that have already significantly curtailed illegal immigration during the past two years. The bad economy has been the primary deterrent to many Hispanic immigrants seeking to enter Arizona, says Jeffrey Passel, a demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington.
“If you have a bad economy and a hostile environment, then that’s likely to cause people to think twice about coming, and possibly even to leave,” Mr. Passel says.
Arizona’s new immigration law requires that police conducting routine traffic stops or other checks ask people about their immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they’re in the country illegally.