The Tucson Citizen reports that many illegal immigrants are fleeing Arizona in the face of the new state laws mandating sanctions on employers who hire illegals. It is still only a trickle, but the numbers will almost certainly increase if the new law survives the latest legal challenge and actually goes into effect in January.
The number returning to Mexico is difficult to calculate, but there is no question that many families are leaving, according to Mexican government officials, local community leaders and immigrants themselves.
"The situation in Arizona has become very tough," Jorge said minutes after driving into a Mexican immigration and customs checkpoint south of the border on Mexico 15.
Dozens of immigrants are leaving the U.S. daily, and even more are expected to leave once the sanctions law takes effect in January, provided the law survives a last-minute legal challenge, said Rosendo Hernandez, president of the advocacy group Immigrants Without Borders.
"If people can't find work, they won't be able to pay their bills, so they will leave," Hernandez said.
In what are considered bellwethers of permanent moves back to Mexico, the Mexican consulate in Phoenix has seen a dramatic increase in applications for Mexican birth certificates, passports and other documents that immigrants living in Arizona will need to return home.
In November alone, the consulate processed 240 applications for Mexican birth certificates, three times as many as the same month last year, said Carlos Flores Vizcarra, Mexican consul general of Phoenix.
The consulate also has processed more than 16,500 applications for Mexican passports this year, nearly twice as many as last year. Vizcarra attributed some of the demand for passports to stricter travel regulations among the U.S., Mexico and Canada slated to take effect in January. But he said many illegal immigrants are applying for passports in case they lose their jobs due to the sanctions law or a slowdown in the economy and therefore want to go back and live in Mexico.
"People are fearful. They are getting ready as much as they can (to leave)," he said.
Mexican officials and border authorities expect southbound traffic to rise significantly this week as Christmas approaches.
The exodus has drawn cheers from foes of illegal immigration.
The story should enrage people. The family they profile used falsified documents to obtain work. They are finally leaving because of the new law – which is already doing what it was intended to do before it goes into effect. It took the threat of the law for their employers to bother to check – whereupon the forged documents were discovered and both were terminated. They were then unable to find other jobs because the law, again, functioned as designed.
The paper fails to ask if the two used stolen identities, which would be nice to know, especially for the people who had their identities compromised. They're too busy trying to make the family into sympathetic figures. It would be nice to see some concern for their fellow citizens as well.
Clue to the politicians: enforcement actually works. We can severely reduce the number of people entering this country illegally, control the borders and liberalize the legal immigration system. A high fence, a wide gate and a hearty welcome for those who follow the rules. Short shrift for those who break them.