Alabama immigration law decried as some flee state

MOBILE, Alabama - A climate of fear and panichas taken hold in Alabama's immigrant community since a federaljudge let stand much of the country's toughest state crackdownon illegal immigration, advocates say.

Farm laborers have picked up their checks and headed out oftown. Parents have pulled their children out of school or putin place emergency plans for their care should the parents bedetained or deported for lacking proof of citizenship.

"People are just taking off without knowing where they aregoing," said Rosa Toussaint-Ortiz, co-chairwoman of theHispanic/Latino Advisory Committee in Huntsville. "They evenown houses and are abandoning them. They are leaving theirstuff behind."

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

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