Thousands of Hispanics have fled Alabama with their families as strict new immigration laws were enforced last week.
Illegal and even legal migrants alike are fleeing Alabama after the tough new immigration laws were brought into force.
Alabama’s new regulations have instilled fears of being deported, prompting a quarter of commercial building workers to leave the state.
Legal Hispanic workers are leaving the state, many to Tennessee or Washington, because their family members and friends don’t have the proper paperwork, instilling fears that they could be imprisoned.
District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn backed the new strict law on September 28. Police in the state can now stop anyone they suspect is an illegal immigrant during traffic stops for proof of citizenship or immigration status.
Schools in Alabama must now check the legal status of new students. On Monday, 2,000 Hispanic students did not attend school.
Rick Pate, the owner of a commercial landscaping company in Montgomery, lost two of his most experienced workers, who were in the country legally.
“They just feel like there is a negative atmosphere for them here,” he said. “They don't feel welcome. I don't begrudge them. I'd feel nervous, too.”
The mass exodus of people in Alabama is bound to hurt the state’s economy. Commercial construction industry is worth more than $7 billion-a-year in Alabama.