In June, Alabama passed a law designed to punish adult illegal immigrants, minor illegal immigrants, and American children who made the error of being born to illegal immigrants. Last week, a federal judge upheld key portions of the law, and it's already starting to work! Alabama seems... cleansed.

The New York Times' Campbell Robertson reports that, at least in tiny Albertville, Alabama, some Hispanic residents have reacted to the judge's ruling by literally running for their lives:

They left behind mobile homes, sold fully furnished for a thousand dollars or even less. Or they just closed up and, in a gesture of optimism, left the keys with a neighbor. Dogs were fed one last time; if no home could be found, they were simply unleashed.

Two, 5, 10 years of living here, and then gone in a matter of days, to Tennessee, Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Arkansas, Mexico - who knows? Anywhere but Alabama.

The exodus of Hispanic immigrants began just hours after a federal judge in Birmingham upheld most provisions of the state's far-reaching immigration enforcement law.

Among the law's provisions: Police will be required to ask for citizenship papers during routine stops, contracts with illegal immigrants will be unenforceable in state courts, and public schools will be forced to scrutinize the immigrant status of their students. It has essentially run some Hispanic residents out of the state, leaving behind a confused populace that Robertson describes as having been hit by a Latino rapture.

By Monday afternoon, 123 students had withdrawn from the schools in this small town in the northern hills, leaving behind teary and confused classmates. Scores more were absent. Statewide, 1,988 Hispanic students were absent on Friday, about 5 percent of the entire Hispanic population of the school system.

John Weathers, an Albertville businessman who rents and has sold houses to many Hispanic residents, said his occupancy had suddenly dropped by a quarter and might drop further, depending on what happens in the next week.

That'll teach those Mexicans! We don't need anyone here in Alabama buying houses, or renting them. They should take their money somewhere else!

[Image via AP]