In Wake of Immigration Law, Calls for an Economic Boycott of Arizona
Published: April 26, 2010
A spreading call for an economic boycott of Arizona after its adoption of a tough immigration law that opponents consider racially discriminatory worried business leaders on Monday and angered the governor.
Several immigrant advocates and civil rights groups, joined by members of the San Francisco government, said the state should pay economic consequences for the new law, which gives the police broad power to detain people they reasonably suspect are illegal immigrants and arrest them on state charges if they do not have legal status.
Critics say the law will lead to widespread ethnic and racial profiling and will be used to harass legal residents and Latino citizens.
La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper, urged a boycott in an editorial Monday, as did the Rev. Al Sharpton, and calls for such action spread to social media sites. The San Francisco city attorney and members of the Board of Supervisors said they would propose that the city not do business with the state.
They followed the lead of Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona, who had urged conventions to skip the state, though other Democrats who oppose the law, including Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix, pleaded for people not to punish the entire state.
Tourism and convention managers, struggling to rebound from the recession, said it was too soon to tell if the effort would have an impact, but some businesses said people were turning away from the state.
At the Arizona Inn in Tucson, the manager, Will Conroy, said that over the weekend 12 customers canceled reservations or said they would not return to the state because of the law.
“This is a very scary situation that the police can now just come up to you for no reason and ask for papers,” Joy Mann, a prospective guest who had previously stayed at the inn, wrote him in an e-mail message. “My son is a construction worker and is very suntanned. I cannot ask him to join us there now, as I would fear for him.”
Tourism officials said such accounts were not widespread, but they were concerned that the rancor was tarnishing the state’s image and were mindful of the boycott in the 1980s that led to Arizona’s officially observing Martin Luther King’s Birthday after initially rejecting it as a holiday.
“Arizona tourism is currently in a very fragile state of recovery, and the negative perceptions surrounding this legislation are tarnishing Arizona’s image and could easily have a devastating effect on visitation to our state,” the Valley Hotel and Resort Association in Phoenix said in a statement.
Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, signed the bill on Friday, calling it an important step toward public safety that would help control immigration and give the police a tool to root out criminals.
She criticized opponents for not offering more solutions to problems related to illegal immigration and called the idea of a boycott “disappointing and unfortunate” at a time when the state is reeling from the recession and suffering from border-related crime that “continues to harm our economy and stifle trade.”
- Growing Split in Arizona Over Immigration (April 26, 2010)