Denver’s Mexican consul general told the Associated Press over the weekend that Mexican immigrants are leaving Colorado because it’s perceived as an anti-immigrant state and the downward-spiraling economy makes it even less friendly.
“What I’ve found is that in our communities, with few exceptions, there’s a sense that the state is not friendly toward immigrants, that they don’t feel welcomed, and that they encounter this feeling of ‘I don’t like you, but I need you,’” said Eduardo Arnal, who has been to 59 of the state’s 64 counties since being named consul general in August of 2007.
“We don’t have statistics, but I can tell you with certainty that Mexicans are abandoning Colorado,” he said. “And for a variety of reasons, one being that they are not able to find jobs, they’re looking for other places and some even considering returning to Mexico definitely. Added to that is the fact that many don’t consider the state a friendly place for immigrants.”
Coupled with the huge drop-off in construction and service-sector jobs, Arnal told AP that tougher state immigration laws passed during a special legislative session in 2006 have contributed to immigrants leaving the state.
But in addition to Colorado’s tougher stance on illegal immigration, there also has been stepped up federal enforcement from ICE and other agencies, with a spike in recent deportations.