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Tough Arizona immigration law rattles state's Latinos (+video)

The Arizona immigration law has led some illegal immigrants to move elsewhere. But those who remain, as well as law-abiding Latinos, are worried about discrimination and even indiscriminate immigration sweeps.

Monitor staff writer Sara Miller Llana and staff photographer Melanie Stetson Freeman talk with a group of Mexican farmers about why they've decided to stay home.
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It's late morning in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, and the Rev. José González sits behind his church with a handful of day laborers eager for any job offers.

Before Arizona adopted its tough immigration law in April 2010, the day labor center attracted a lot more workers, the pastor says. Fewer come now, and although he says lack of work is a factor, he cites as a major reason the chilling effect the law has had on many local Latinos.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty in the community," says Mr. González.

As the US Supreme Court prepares to hear the merits and demerits of Arizona's fiery immigration law, some say the very existence of the legislation – even if not fully implemented – has left an indelible mark on the Grand Canyon State.

Although it's hard to quantify the law's effect, anecdotal evidence suggests Senate Bill 1070, as it is known, caused some to depart for other states and Mexico, home to most of Arizona's estimated 360,000 illegal immigrants. Some say crime is down as a result; others say worry about racial discrimination permeates anew Latino communities. SB 1070 also cost businesses millions because of national boycotts, at least initially, as people elsewhere tagged Arizona as an immigration enforcement zealot.


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