University of Arizona president Robert Shelton sent a memo today to the campus community saying that Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070, has already caused students from outside Arizona to reverse plans to attend the institution. In the memo, reported by a Tucson television station, Shelton noted,
We have already begun to feel an impact from SB 1070. The families of a number of out-of-state students (to date all of them honors students) have told us that they are changing their plans and will be sending their children to universities in other states. This should sadden anyone who cares about attracting the best and brightest students to Arizona.
Shelton also expressed concerns about the school’s international community:
I cannot state more firmly that the health and safety of our international students, faculty, and professional staff are priorities of the highest order for us, and we are going to do everything possible to help each of them understand the law and its impact. We intend to put in place whatever procedures are necessary to ensure their safety and free movement on campus and in our community.
The bill, signed into law by Arizona’s governor last Friday, “Requires officials and agencies to reasonably attempt to determine the immigration status of a person involved in a legitimate contact where reasonable suspicion exists regarding the immigration status of the person.” People stopped by authorities need to show a valid driver’s license, tribal identification, or other federal, state, or local government-issued identification. Those arrested can be held until their citizenship is verified by the federal government.