Mexican Politicians Say Migrants Returning Because Of Arizona Law

Mexican politicians say migrants returning because of AZ law

Associated Press
January 22, 2008

TUCSON- Politicians from the Mexican state bordering Arizona say they are receiving reports of migrants who are “self-deporting” and landing in border communities because of Arizonas employer sanctions law.

The full effect of the law, which calls for punishing Arizona employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants but hasnt been used yet, is troublesome and unknown for Mexican lawmakers along the border.

“We have yet to feel the full impact, but the moment (immigrants) leave Arizona, were going to have problems,” said Enrique Flores Lopez, director of the state migrant advocacy department in the state of Sonora.

A delegation of politicians from Sonora plans to travel to Mexico City next week to seek help to house and feed workers who may flee Arizona.

“Were going to demand resources,” said Irma Villalobos, a state legislator who heads the commission of border affairs in Sonora.

Nogales legislator Leticia Amparano, who met with Arizona lawmakers to learn more about the new law and its enforcement, said Mexican lawmakers have collected anecdotes about crowded classrooms and more people roaming the streets of downtown Nogales, Mexico, in search of assistance.

Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours, said Mexico must do more than point a finger at the U.S.

He launched the initiative “Migrantes Trabajando” (“Working Migrants”) for deported countrymen who want to stay in Sonora. The program is designed to assist all deported workers, not just those from Arizona.

“We need to find the opportunities in our country,” Bours said. “To me, it seems too easy to blame the United States and not do anything ourselves.”

Under the Arizona law, businesses that knowingly employ illegal immigrants could face a business license suspension lasting up to 10 days. Second-time violators would lose their licenses altogether.

The law went into effect Jan. 1 but Arizonas 15 county prosecutors have agreed to wait until March 1 to bring cases to court. The delay is intended to give a federal judge adequate time to rule on a court challenge to the law.