Alabama immigration law decried as some flee state

October 13, 2011 01:13

MOBILE, Alabama - A climate of fear and panic has taken hold in Alabama's immigrant community since a federal judge let stand much of the country's toughest state crackdown on illegal immigration, advocates say.

Farm laborers have picked up their checks and headed out of town. Parents have pulled their children out of school or put in place emergency plans for their care should the parents be detained or deported for lacking proof of citizenship.

"People are just taking off without knowing where they are going," said Rosa Toussaint-Ortiz, co-chairwoman of the Hispanic/Latino Advisory Committee in Huntsville. "They even own houses and are abandoning them. They are leaving their stuff behind."

Just how many immigrants are fleeing the state is unclear. The departures began soon after the law passed this year, and advocates, educators and employers say they have seen an uptick since a Sept. 28 court order that put into effect many of the challenged provisions.

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