MEXICO CITY – Arizona’s Hispanic population has fallen by at least 100,000 since the SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration measure was passed in 2010, even though a federal judge blocked the law’s most controversial provisions, BBVA Bancomer said in a report.
“A smaller number of Hispanics in the state of Arizona can be observed,” according to the report by Mexico’s largest financial institution, whose economic studies service frequently publishes analysis on immigration issues.
Although the data comes from a survey and a margin for error must be allowed, “we estimate around 100,000 fewer Hispanics compared to how many there were at the start of 2010,” the report said.
Most of the Latinos who have left the state “are of Mexican origin” and it is possible that the decline in the number of Hispanics in Arizona “is due in large part to the potential (full) implementation of the law.”
According to BBVA, if the exodus of migrants from Arizona were due to the economic recession “the decrease observed would have begun prior” to April 23, 2010, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law.
The bank added that it is not yet possible to “know where the Hispanics who have left Arizona have gone,” although some may have moved to other U.S. states while a smaller number “returned to their home countries.”
The law sparked boycotts and a legal challenge from the Justice Department, which convinced federal Judge Susan Bolton to grant an injunction on July 28, 2010, that puts some provisions of the law on hold.
The Obama administration argued that the law infringed on the federal government’s authority to control illegal immigration.
For example, Bolton blocked provisions that would require police officers to try to determine people’s immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion” they are in the country illegally and allow them to make warrantless arrests if they have probable cause a person committed an offense worthy of deportation.
Other provisions that were struck down include one that makes people without immigration documents guilty of trespassing and another that makes it a crime for someone unlawfully present in the United States to apply for a job.
An appeals court last month upheld Bolton’s injunction and the fate of the legislation will now be decided by the Supreme Court.
Passage of SB 1070 prompted a wave of similar bills in other state legislatures.
The population of Arizona, which borders the northwestern Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California and is a major entry point into the United States for illegal immigrants, was roughly 6.5 million in 2009, 2 million of whom were Hispanics (1.8 million of Mexican origin).