Leaving Arizona: A Family of Illegal Immigrants Flee’s Arizona’s Immigration Law

Over the summer I worked with reporter Dan Gonzalez on a photo story following two families of illegal immigrants living in the West Valley as they moved to Pennsylvania because of Arizona’s new immigration law SB1070. I concentrated on the Sanchez family. Luis, the dad, and his wife Marlen both came to the U.S. illegally. Their three children are U.S. citizen. They decided to go the Pennsylvania because they have family there that can help them find work. They feared that if they remained in Arizona they would face deportation. They chose not to return to Mexico because their children don’t know the country and they wanted them to get a U.S. education. They lived in an apartment complex where a lot of the residents were undocumented. Everyone there knew people that had been deported. Residents was nervous to drive to the grocery store for fear of being stopped.

The trip was long a long 2,700 miles. The family conserved money by sleeping in rest stops and eating truck stop food. After getting to our destination everyone was tired, including reporter Dan Gonzalez and I. The next morning we called the family to see how they would be spending their first day in Pennsylvania. We were told that Luiz was already at working, eight hours after arriving in the middle of the night to Pennsylvania.

In the audio slideshow you can hear Luis, Marlen and their two kids talk about their experience.


Leaving Arizona – Images by Pat Shannahan

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