NPR logo Arizona Immigration Law Makes Shops' Customers Disappear


Arizona Immigration Law Makes Shops' Customers Disappear

One aspect of the fallout from Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law that didn't get much attention, at least not from the national media, was the affect the law would have on many small businesses in Arizona, especially those that cater to Hispanics.

The Arizona Republic reports that in the days since the law's passage, many businesses have lost their customers. Some have had to close as the illegal immigrants who used to patronize them have become too fearful to do so any longer, with some making plans to leave the state.

Much of the coverage before and after passage of the legislation focused on the what a boycott by those outside the state who opposed the law would mean for the state. But there clearly will be an economic impact from reduced demand within the state. Which will likely mean reduced sales tax revenues.

An excerpt from the Republic:

On a weekday afternoon during normal business hours, many business near
northeast Phoenix's Palomino neighborhood were empty. Some were closed despite signs
saying they were normally open for business.

Small-business owners that cater to Phoenix's Hispanic population saw an immediate drop in business since the passage of SB 1070, the state's controversial immigration policy. Owners say they were already affected because their clientele was more likely to work in industries affected by recent economic woes, such as construction. Many are contemplating closing.

"This is just going to make it worse," said Marissa Ruiz, owner of Contact Cellular, on
Cave Creek Road. "On every corner on every street, there are empty businesses. It's so sad seeing the city going down."

The laundry at Plaza Mexican on Greenway Road is usually busy, even on weekday afternoons. Owner Nick Solomon closed it less than a week after Gov. Janet Brewer signed the bill.

"I had to close it. That's what you do when you have no business," he said.

Solomon said business at shops he owns in the Hispanic neighborhood decreased by 50 percent in several days. Even the grocery that he decided to keep open has suffered.

Solomon says he doesn't foresee when or if he'll be able to reopen.

"You reopen when you have customers and currently, I have no customers," he said.