The neighbors pointed at a small green house on the west side of Phoenix and said the man who cut off part of his finger lived inside. Sure enough, a man came out with toilet paper wound around the index finger of his left hand.
He said he had been cutting meat at a restaurant around the corner when he accidently sliced off a hunk of his flesh. More than 24 hours later, blood kept soaking through the toilet paper, and his finger still throbbed. This raised an obvious question: Why didn't he go to the hospital?
"Because I don't have papers," said the man, who would give only his first name, Ramon.
Ramon, 35, an undocumented immigrant from Hermosillo, Mexico, is just one example of how many of the estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona have gone deeper underground to avoid contact with the authorities since Gov. Jan Brewer signed the toughest immigration law in the nation one year ago today.
The law, known as Senate Bill 1070, never took full effect. A federal judge blocked key parts of it, including a controversial provision that would have required police to determine the immigration status of people they encountered during police stops if they suspected them of being illegal immigrants.
Even so, many illegal immigrants, who have lived in the shadows for years to avoid detection, say they are more afraid than ever of being deported. Ramon feared hospital officials might discover he is undocumented and report him to federal immigration officials. Other illegal immigrants randomly interviewed said they now drive as little as possible to reduce the chances of being stopped and questioned by the police. Others said they won't report crimes to avoid unwanted scrutiny.
Brewer, who was in the midst of a tough primary race for the GOP nomination for governor, signed SB 1070 under intense political pressure that stemmed from years of mounting public frustration over illegal immigration and drug smuggling in Arizona, as well as Congress' failure to fix the problems.
The bill cemented Arizona's reputation as the toughest immigration state in the nation and instantly propelled the issue of illegal immigration back into the national spotlight.
The law also whipped up anti-illegal-immigration fervor that spurred lawmakers in several states to introduce similar legislation. But it also generated a powerful backlash from immigrant, Latino and civil-rights groups, which led to lawsuits and economic boycotts that damaged Arizona's image and cost the state millions of dollars in lost tourism and convention revenue.
There is no hard data on how the law has affected the state's economy because undocumented immigrants often work off the books for cash and those employed in the "aboveground" economy often get jobs using fake papers, which makes it difficult to distinguish them from legal workers.
However, the law did spur hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of immigrant families to leave Arizona. While the initial wave seems to have subsided, many immigrants say they are still planning to leave, either because they are afraid of being deported or because they can't find jobs due to the economy and tougher immigration enforcement.
Supporters of SB 1070 are claiming a victory, saying preventing illegal immigrants from coming to Arizona and scaring away those already here is the intention of the law.
"I think the greatest effect of 1070 is its deterrent effect," said state Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, a main sponsor of the bill. "And the credit for its strong deterrent effect must be shared by its authors and supporters like myself, with its detractors who so grossly misinterpreted that law that it probably scared a lot of illegal immigrants from coming here in the first place or staying if they were here."
Fear of the police
Daniel Chamizo manages a mobile-home park and apartment complex near 31st Avenue and Van Buren Street. Many of the families who live there are immigrants, legal and illegal, from Mexico.
He said many no longer want to report crimes, afraid police will start asking immigration questions and they will end up being deported. So they call him instead.
"They come to me and say a lot of things. They tell me about people coming to sell drugs or consume drugs," said Chamizo, 48, sitting behind a cluttered desk in his office. "I tell them, 'I am just the manager. I can't really do anything. Call the police.' But they are afraid."
A few days earlier, Chamizo said, someone came to his office to tell him there was a dead dog in a nearby park. Chamizo suggested they call an animal-control officer, but they wouldn't.
"They are afraid of any kind of law enforcement," he said.
Illegal immigrants have always been afraid to call the police, said Sgt. Steve Martos, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department. It's hard to tell if the problem has gotten worse, he said, because police don't know when people are not reporting crimes if they aren't calling. But he acknowledged that "there is a perception that it has."
Carlos Garcia, an organizer with Phoenix-based immigrant-rights group Puente Arizona, said SB 1070 has driven a wedge between immigrants and the police even though the law never took full effect.
"It created the fear, and I think it's continued," Garcia said. "It created more space, more distance between the community and the police."
Those fears have been intensified, Garcia said, by other ongoing crackdowns, among them federal programs that enlist the help of local police to identify and deport illegal immigrants.
Earlier this year, state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, the main sponsor of SB 1070, also pushed for a new round of immigration legislation that sought, among other things, to require hospital personnel to notify immigration authorities of patients they suspected of being in the country illegally and also sought to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.
Those proposals were voted down by the Senate, but they added to the fears, Garcia said.
"It just made life more difficult for folks," he said. "But because there are so many ties to the community, most people didn't leave (the state). But they kind of prepared themselves. Now, they are just not leaving their house. A lot of the community we talk to, they leave to take their kids to school, they will go to work, and then they will just stay home. They are afraid to go out, and they are afraid to have any contact with police or any sort of authority."
Impact on economy
Angela Castro, 39, and her husband, Miguel Yanez, 42, are undocumented immigrants from the state of Mexico. The Phoenix residents have lived in Arizona for more than 10 years.
Castro said she and her husband now drive as little as possible, especially at night, to avoid police.
"We are afraid that if we get stopped, they are going to ask about our papers," Castro said.
Castro was standing on the shoulder of 31st Avenue in west Phoenix, selling used clothing, electronic equipment, toys and other items.
At one point, she reached down, pulled a 4-week-old puppy out of a box and handed it to a customer. The box contained two more puppies, and Castro said she was selling the poodles for $70 each.
The street was lined on both sides with other immigrants selling items at yard sales.
Castro said it was one way for her family to earn money after her husband lost his construction job a year ago. While she is manning the yard sale, he is out scouring the neighborhood for old soda cans and scrap metal to turn in to a recycling center for cash.
"We don't sell a lot," she said. "Some days, we might make $50. Others, it's $30. Some days, we don't sell anything."
Kavanagh, a sponsor of SB 1070, said it is difficult to tell whether illegal immigrants are being driven underground by the economic downturn or the immigration law.
Tom Rex, who studies the state's economy for the Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, said immigration crackdowns, notably the state's employer-sanctions law, have driven more undocumented workers from the aboveground economy into the underground cash economy.
The sanctions law, which took effect in 2008, requires all employers to electronically verify whether employees are legally eligible to work. That has made it harder for undocumented workers to use fake documents to get legitimate jobs, as many did in the past.
It also means less revenue for the state, since undocumented workers employed in the aboveground economy typically pay income taxes, unlike those working for cash.
On top of that, the state has lost sales-tax and other revenue from the thousands of illegal immigrants who have left due to the immigration crackdowns, further hurting the state's sagging economy, Rex said.
The Pew Hispanic Center recently estimated that the state's undocumented population shrunk by 100,000 people in the past three years, dropping from 500,000 to 400,000.
Such a large and sudden loss of people dealt a severe blow to the state's economy, even when costs such as education and other services are factored in, Rex said.
As evidence, he pointed to retail sales, which plummeted 9 percent in 2008 and 10 percent in 2009. Rex called the drop unprecedented and said it likely resulted from an overall decrease in spending during the recession and immigrants leaving the state.
"Nothing remotely close to that has ever happened in this state," Rex said.
Still, Kavanagh said the loss of more than 100,000 illegal immigrants opened job opportunities for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants at a time when the state's unemployment rate is 9.5 percent.
"So losing 100,000 or 200,000 workers who were undercutting legal workers and depressing wages is a big plus, as far as I am concerned," he said. "Good riddance."
Clint Hickman, vice president of sales and marketing for Hickman's Family Farms, the largest egg producer in Arizona, said sales to supermarkets and grocery stores that cater to Latinos dropped 20 percent in the wake of SB 1070.
"Eggs are not easily substituted, so it wasn't that there was some other foodstuff that was being substituted," he said. "It was a real loss of consumption because the people aren't here any more."
Kavanagh said the drop in sales suggests SB 1070 was a "very effective deterrent."
"It makes me feel good," Kavanagh said. "Mr. Hickman (will have to) have less hens. You don't overproduce. I am not going to maintain a large population of illegal immigrants who drain our economy and cost us in benefits just so that Mr. Hickman can sell 20 percent more in eggs."
Shifts in lifestyle
On a recent afternoon, a heavyset man named Mario pulled a tray of cheesecakes from an oven in the back of his house and put them on a rack to cool. In an adjoining room, other Mexican cakes and breads were cooling on racks.
Mario, 58, said he came to Phoenix 15 years ago from Chiapas, Mexico, and is a legal permanent resident. He asked that his full name not be used because he didn't have a permit for the bakery and wasn't paying taxes for the bread and pastries he sells.
Mario said he had been working at a Mexican bakery full time but was laid off six months ago. He blamed SB 1070, which he said forced many of the bakery's customers to leave the state. Sales dropped.
To earn money, Mario bought a commercial oven. He has been baking bread in the back of his house ever since, selling door to door in his neighborhood.
"These are bad laws," Mario said. "This was a great state. When I arrived, it was easy to make a living, and life was very peaceful."