Action 4 Investigates: Arizona Immigrant Exodus
Tue, 01 Jun 2010 04:32:02 GMT —
As thousands of people took to the streets of Phoenix to protest against Senate Bill 1070, an Arizona family prepared to leave the state amid fears of being stopped and deported once the controversial law goes into effect.
The final destination for Raul and his family will be the City of Mesquite, just east of Dallas.
"We are talking about 11 years, he told Action 4 News. I have my family here, I have my friends here, I have my life here."
Raul, who did not want his last name to be used, lives in a mobile home in the Phoenix suburb of Avondale, along with his wife and two children, ages one and six.
The kids are American citizens, they were born in Phoenix but the parents are not.
Raul and his wife came to Arizona illegally.
Once Senate Bill 1070 was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, they decided to leave the life they have known for 11 years. "Any state but Arizona, I'm thinking about Texas, but not Arizona," Raul said, talking about where he plans of taking his family.
His is just one more story of the hundreds, possibly even thousands, of families expected to leave Arizona in the coming months. If the courts do not interfere, SB 1070 will go into effect in August.
"The bill I'm about to sign into law, SB 1070 represents another tool in our state to use as we work to solve another crisis that we did not create," Governor Brewer announced when she signed the law back in April 23.
That piece of legislation makes it a state crime to live in Arizona illegally.
It also allows local police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country without proper documentation.
"It protects all of us, every Arizona citizen and everyone here in our state lawfully," she said before signing the bill into law.
According to the most recent estimates from the Department of Homeland Security, the number of people living in Arizona unlawfully number at about 460,000.
That is a third of the number of the undocumented immigrant population in Texas.
In the Lone Star State, the estimate is almost 1.7 million people.
And that number could grow in the coming months.
"I would like to know Texas but just visiting, Raul said. I would like to stay in Arizona but if the law continues I can TMt."
Though the exact number of undocumented residents living in, or leaving Arizona is unknown, many like Raul say there is no other option but to go elsewhere.
"The only thing that we have, it is the support of the family, he said. It is the most important thing for us."
And so, in the next few weeks, sometime before the August, they will be packing their belongings and heading to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Raul TMs wife has family there, and they hope to start over.