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
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