After Arizona Immigration Ruling, Panic And Protests Days after the Supreme Court upheld a key part of Arizona's law, human-rights groups say they're getting calls from worried undocumented residents who are afraid of being turned over to immigration officials. But the ruling has also emboldened opponents of the measure.
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After Arizona Immigration Ruling, Panic And Protests

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After Arizona Immigration Ruling, Panic And Protests

After Arizona Immigration Ruling, Panic And Protests

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.


And I'm Melissa Block.

It will still be weeks or longer before the centerpiece of Arizona's immigration law SB1070 takes effect. When the Supreme Court ruled on the law this week, it left standing the provision that requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons. A lower court has to remove an injunction before that will begin. But for much of Arizona's immigrant and Hispanic population, that's beside the point.

NPR is Ted Robbins reports there's already a chilling effect and there is protest.


TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: The cars passing in front of the Arizona state government building in Tucson are honking in support of protestors holding signs saying: Reject Racism and Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote.

Patricia Carpio's sign says, Resistencia.

PATRICIA CARPIO: It means we're not going to put up with this. This is not going to happen. It's just like the Civil Rights Movement, we're just taking it a whole different way.

ROBBINS: They're handing out flyers announcing meetings for the Coalition to Resist and Repeal SB1070. These are people who feel emboldened by the Supreme Court ruling. They say others are afraid to go public.

MARIA CORRASCO: We've been getting a lot of people who are desperate, who are panicking right now. So I have to calm them down.

ROBBINS: Maria Corrasco runs a telephone hotline for the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, the Human Rights Coalition. She says she's gotten about 30 calls over the last few days from people who are undocumented or from their family members, afraid people will stop them and turn them over to immigration officers, even though the Obama administration says it won't respond to many local law enforcement calls.

CORRASCO: Yeah, I give them phone numbers of lawyers, the consulate. You know, you have the right to remain silent. Yes, give your name and that's it. Remain silent.

ROBBINS: Everyone I spoke with here is a U.S. citizen, legal resident or visa holder. But some members of Francisco Miranda's family are undocumented. I asked him and his son, also Francisco, what they'll do with the law takes effect.

FRANCISCO MIRANDA, SENIOR: (Foreign language spoken)

FRANCISCO MIRANDA, JUNIOR: If like though, if it gets like it's ugly...


JUNIOR: If it gets ugly, like maybe we'll leave.

ROBBINS: And go where, back to Mexico?

SENIOR: No. No. California or...

ROBBINS: That's exactly what the sponsors of SB1070 want. It says right in the law: Attrition through enforcement - get the undocumented to leave Arizona.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOHN KAVANAGH: Yeah, I think it's a very good thing because I don't believe that people who come here illegally should be allowed to stay.

ROBBINS: Arizona State Representative John Kavanagh is one of SB1070's sponsors. No one knows how many people left the state two years ago after the bill was passed. Kavanagh is hopeful the exodus will resume now to the threat of police action is real.

KAVANAGH: We still haven't solved the national illegal immigration problem, but it sure helps Arizona.

ROBBINS: Back on the street corner, protestors aren't buying it. Many say even if older immigrants are afraid, young people - especially those who've grown up in the U.S. - are not.

Genesis Lara is a college student in Arizona for the summer.

GENESIS LARA: I came all the way from Florida. It's because there is resistance and I think people really do want things to change.

ROBBINS: So as much as there is a chilling effect from SB1070, there's also mobilization to keep families here to report suspected racial profiling, and to keep challenging the law in court.

Ted Robbins, NPR News, Tucson.

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