August 2nd, 2010
09:36 PM ET

Leaving Arizona

Gary Tuchman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

This morning Gary Tuchman, photojournalist John Torigoe and I woke up in Santa Fe, NM.  We came here hoping to speak with illegal immigrants who have moved here from Arizona. We had read reports and heard rumors of people fleeing Arizona since the passage of the controversial Arizona law SB 1070.

We found a lot anecdotal information that people moved here recently, but no one we spoke with could give us the name of a person who had actually moved here. 
We lined up some interviews and on our way we noticed a large group of men looking for work. They were standing between a Catholic church and a park hoping someone would stop by and hire them for the day.

The men told us they were in the country illegally, but were happy to be in New Mexico, a state that they feel is inviting and compassionate toward illegal immigrants. I asked if they had noticed more people here from Arizona than usual and all said yes. They pointed to one man in the crowd telling us that he had come directly from Chandler, AZ.
The man identified himself as Hector. He says he's been here for 2 weeks and is living with some friends about 50 miles away in Albuquerque.  He says he left fearing he would be arrested and deported in Arizona where he worked as a mechanic for 12 years.  He has a wife and 3 children who were all born in the United States.  He says being deported would be a hardship on his family, as he would have to leave his kids behind.
Inside the Church we met Pedro, he tells us he moved here from Phoenix 2 months ago.  When he first got here he slept in the streets while looking for work.  He is in his 40's but has spent half of his life in the United States. He was a handyman in Phoenix and like Hector, had steady work.  He now says he can get work from time to time, but it¹s hard to find work in New Mexico even if the people here are more accepting of illegal immigrants.

Marcela Diaz, with the advocacy group 'Somos un pueblo unido' says she welcomes more immigrants to the community, but warns there aren¹t many jobs to go around.  She says that the smaller population and a bad economy contribute to some very trying times for people looking for work. Diaz suspects that if people relocate here from Arizona, it may only be for a short time. 
Both Pedro and Hector tell us they are willing to give New Mexico a chance, but they fear they may have to move on and moving back to Mexico may also be in their future.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Immigration • Ismael Estrada
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Oscar Castaneda

    My question is: Who is gonna do the illegal jobs??

    August 3, 2010 at 11:29 am |
  2. Babaio

    New Mexico needs to get with the program and pass a 1070 bill. While they're at it, they should change their name to New America. This is America!

    August 3, 2010 at 3:09 am |
  3. Pat Apodaca

    Hi All,

    I don't think that the 14th amendment needs to be changed just interpreted corretly. They had no problem with illegal immigration when it was written so that just says that it was never intended to be used for the purpose of making illegals legal. When American citizens break the law we are punished. Giving illegal immigrants a path to citizenship is a reward no matter how much money they have to pay in so called fines. Wake up Government and stop letting illegals live, work, get educated and have so many other privilages citizens have and they will self deport back to where they came from. Then America can get back to helping the citizens of this country first!

    August 3, 2010 at 2:45 am |
  4. Tk from Santa Fe

    I live here and I think that if they are willing to do the work let them if we allowed them to be citizens then they would pay taxes, and make good lives I live in a good neighbor hood and most of my neighbors are illegal immigrats and they are good people. In the end we are all just people trying to make the best life possible.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:31 am |
  5. Washington, George

    If 12 million people break the law of killing another indivdiual, they still commit a crime and need to be punished. that is the standard we set up for our society. If 12 million people break the laws of immigration, we need to do something about it. the bottom line is politicans want the votes from anchor babies and hispanic, they choose not to deal with illegal immigration. That is wrong. Obama's administration went a step beyound what most american would agree with is utilizing federal resources to block Arizona's law. Americans do not block immigration, Americans just want people to follow the laws. achor babies need to stop in order for the politican to turn around to address illegal immigration.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:28 am |
  6. Daniel - Nevada

    It is not just Mexicans. It is all ethnics that come into this country illegally. It can cost us, especially when they give birth here it costs. They show the Mexicans as doing only one job as pickers, when actually they are taking jobs in all the construction trades, especially here in Nevada. I have traveled from Michigan since 2006 and have been in 3 different states for work and I am now leaving again. I have lost and sold everything we had owned and worked hard for. I am a US citizen and pay taxes. I do have more to add to this.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:50 am |
  7. Judge Rembert

    I have lived in the Carolinas for 68 years. I understand the need to work. My questions are: where is all the money to come from to care for all the people who walk into the United States unannounced ? Why is there no work in Mexico ? What happen to the laws in America ? Do only the citizens have to obey the laws in America ?

    August 3, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  8. mike from utah

    god bless Arizona ! this issue has needed addressing for years , and in my opinion is one of the greatest threats our country faces today. i just wish my state would get with it.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:06 am |
  9. Susie

    People want the bordera patrolled..lets bring our service people home..the. $ saved for combat pay can be used to build their barracks...our borders would be monitored by our own soldiers and no more deaths from overseas wars...would probably increase our enrollment into the military

    August 2, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  10. Terri

    I wonder if there will inevitably be a realization in AZ that many illegal immigrants actually provided necessary services, and whether or not some may be more appreciated in their absence/exodus. It is a shame that the federal government will not address this situation for the greater good of all….

    Best regards~

    August 2, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  11. george

    i think the answer to the immigration problem was answered in the story you just aired. if no one is offering non-american people jobs then they will go where jobs are. we as americans have a large unemployment rate.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  12. Renard- Los Angeles, Ca

    Didnt Arizona belong to Mexico at one time? We have to change the constitution to get them leave? What happens when they do leave? Its silly to think that all this need to be done it seems to me anytime you get lawyers and politicians involved in anything it gets blown out of proportion...I got an Idea how about sealing the boarders all the boarders...And as always when something goes wrong African Americans are somehow thrown in the mix

    August 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  13. antoine alvarez

    since the immegration bill passed phoenix police has been pulling people over left and right. i seen over 40 police cars pulling phoenix residence over a 15 mile drive.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
  14. janice toliver

    The word is illegal am I missing something. If this was Haitians in spite of their catastrophe they would not be able to stay. PLEASE THERE MUST BE SOMETHING I"M MISSING.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
  15. Jeff from Illinois

    no state in the union should be "inviting and compassionate" towards anything, or anyone illegal

    August 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  16. Jeff from Illinois

    Why did they leave?...Federal judge (govt) is on their side!

    August 2, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  17. teresa, ohio

    Hector says this: "worked as a mechanic for 12 years." who hired him and did they know he was illegal?

    August 2, 2010 at 9:52 pm |

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