Immigrants Head to NM Ahead of AZ Law

Ian Schwartz, KRQE-TV (Albuquerque), June 25, 2010

Hispanic advocacy groups in Albuquerque said Arizona’s controversial immigration law is driving immigrants from there to New Mexico a full month before the law takes effect.

“There have been about 40 to 50 families that we know of that have moved to Albuquerque,” Ralph Arellanes, the New Mexico Director of The League of United Latin American Citizens, said.

He said immigrant families are heading east weeks before the law takes effect.

“Families are coming here from Arizona, specifically because of this law,” he said.

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Arellanes said fears of deportation have caused the exodus.

Officials with the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque said as many as 70 immigrants have contacted them about their plans to head to New Mexico from Arizona.

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“The influx is going to be bring in, not just an influx of students, families,” she [Centro De La Raza Director Veronica Mendez-Cruz, who runs the Hispanic advocacy department at the University of New Mexico] said.

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Delgado [Hugo Delgado, a barber] said the new law could also bring trouble too.

“I guess there are some gang members moving over here too,” he said. “So I am assuming a lot of the violence happening over there is going to kind of escalate over here.”

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An estimated 400,000 to 500,000 illegal immigrants live in Arizona, about 10 times as many as New Mexico.

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