Ejections have consequences:

Every time a customer buys some of the large fabric tote bags from the Dollar Store at 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road, Najmuddin Katchi sees another piece of his business vanish.

The purchase of the briefcase-sized shoulder bags means that another one of Katchi’s customers, mostly Latino immigrants, is packing to leave the state before what is touted as the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigrants takes effect July 29.

Katchi’s store isn’t the only business suffering. The vast shopping center that holds his small shop is almost empty. The Food City supermarket closed this spring. Then the furniture shop. Then the pizzeria.

The giant apartment complex across the street, once brimming with tenants, is two-thirds vacant. Katchi is behind on his rent.

“The business is broken,” said Katchi, who has operated his shop at this intersection for 14 years. “After the 29th of July, what happens? Maybe I have to close the store.”

For the last 20 years, Arizona has been one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. It depends on an expanding population to power its economy, which relies heavily on the construction of new houses.

At the corner of 43rd and Thomas, it’s hard to determine how much of the neighborhood’s woes stem from Arizona’s immigration laws and how much from the state’s economy, battered by a once red-hot housing marked that cooled.

Katchi’s revenue was already sagging before April 23, when Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law. Since then, sales have plummeted.  [...]

When immigrants leave, Gans said, “stores experience dramatic drops in sales. Apartment owners who rent to immigrants have high vacancy rates and risk losing their buildings. Legal workers or renters or consumers don’t generally step in quickly enough to prevent these businesses from experiencing real additional hardship.”

At 43rd and Thomas, such short-term economic perils are no abstraction.

“If people don’t come here, I don’t make money and I don’t pay taxes,” Katchi said.

People, this is no way to exploit the poor.  You’ve let the nativist propaganda used to distract one group of working stiffs to go too far, and now you’re feeling the pinch. 

Can we all just agree to demonize Muslims instead?*

*(Proposed solution does not apply to the State of Michigan)

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