The entry into force of Arizona's "show me your papers" regulation could spur more immigrant families to leave the state even as activists and organizations prepare to fight the measure.
"Regrettably, this is already occurring, since people began to hear that Subsection 2(b) was going to be implemented we've known of people who are already making their preparations with their consulates to return to their countries or who are thinking of (moving) to other states more favorable for immigrants," Lydia Guzman, with the Respect/Respeto group, told Efe.
The organization set up a telephone hotline to take complaints and questions from the Hispanic community in Arizona.
"There are families who are thinking of moving to states like Utah, New Mexico, to places like Michigan," Guzman said.
When SB1070, the first state law to criminalize the presence of undocumented immigrants, became law in 2010 dozens of immigrant families left Arizona out of fear of being deported.
After a legal battle lasting more than two years, SB1070's Subsection 2(b) entered into force on Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton lifted an injunction she imposed in 2010.
Bolton had little choice but to lift the injunction after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June upholding the show me your papers provision of the Arizona law.
Subsection 2(b) requires state and local law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.
Various Arizona law enforcement agencies said that when the law enters into force they will not use racial profiling, but activists fear that Hispanics will be discriminated against without regard for their immigration status.
Guzman said that they are aware that there are some police departments that are ready to stop people and ask them if they have their immigration papers in order.
"Regrettably, you know that there are some departments that are more willing than others to do it. Here is where we see case after case of racial profiling. We don't know how far this can go," she emphasized.
Organizations are preparing a series of community forums in Arizona cities to inform the public about their rights and the options they have if they are detained or arrested by a police officer.
Lawyers and human rights defense groups recommend that people who are not legally in the United States keep silent when they are asked about their immigration status and ask to be provided with a lawyer.
Meanwhile, Tucson police chief Roberto Villaseñor told Efe that Subsection 2(b) will be enforced on a "case by case" basis, but he admitted that if a person does not have an Arizona driver's license or an official identification document, that could be "reasonable cause" for officers to question his or her immigration status.
Undocumented immigrants cannot legally obtain driver's licenses or official state-issued I.D. documents in Arizona. EFE