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America's red-blue divide widens on illegal immigrants

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"There is some party politics, some short-term electoral gains at hand, but by and large it has to do with the fact that [people] are a lot more receptive to anti-immigrant laws in places where they're not used to immigrants – and the opposite in places where they're used to having immigrants and where people understand the value proposition" behind welcoming immigrants, says Allert Brown-Gort, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

That divergence is already having a tangible impact on immigrant families, farmers, and businesses in places like Arizona and Georgia, where crackdowns – despite the legal challenges pending against the new laws – are causing immigrants to take their muscle and spending dollars elsewhere.

Just as 100,000 undocumented immigrants reportedly left Arizona last year, an exodus from Georgia has also begun. Farmers are struggling to get fruits and vegetables out of their patches, and stores in Hispanic neighborhoods are seeing sales slide.

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