New Arizona Enforcement Law Sparks Calls for Economic Boycott

Arizona’s new controversial enforcement law, signed into law last week by Gov. Jan Brewer, has the potential to shake down more than just undocumented immigrants and suntanned citizens. Arizona’s businesses and tourism industry are also likely to take a hit as more and more people call for an economic boycott. The law, which requires state and local law enforcement to check the documents of people they “reasonable suspect” of being here illegally, is causing many potential investors, visitors and tourists to avoid Arizona altogether. With a state budget deficit of more than $4.5 billion and an economy heavily dependent on tourism, Gov. Jan Brewer (who’s up for reelection this November) and the Arizona legislature will need to consider not only how they plan on paying for implementation of this new law, but also how to pay the larger price of doing business in a restrictionist state.

Leading the charge on an economic boycott, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said last week that Arizona’s new law should have economic consequences:

“There has to be an economic sanction for this,” the congressman said. “Our economic sanction is: Do not do business with a state that is propagating the idea that separate but equal treatment under the law…can be codified.”

And the voices keep getting louder. Echoing Rep. Grijalva’s sentiments, La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper, called on all those who believe in the U.S. Constitution to boycott Arizona. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is currently considering a resolution to “end any and all contracts with Arizona-based companies and to stop doing business with the state.” The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) cancelled a fall conference in Arizona. AILA President Bernie Wolfsdorf explained that AILA “cannot in good conscience spend association dollars in a state that dehumanizes the people we represent and fight for” and that the Arizona bill “validates all of the irrational fears by people who are not willing to acknowledge the economic and cultural benefits of immigration to our country.”

Arizona leaders and businesses are pleading with people to consider what a boycott would mean for Arizona. Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who spoke out against the law, asked people not to punish the entire state. Similarly, the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association created a Facebook page, “Don’t Boycott Arizona Tourism” and Arizona Diamondbacks president and CEO, Derrick Hall, worries that the law will jeopardize the state’s MLB All-Star Game. Remember that the NFL took the Superbowl away from Arizona in 1993 when the state refused to recognize MLK Day.

With demands for a boycott on the rise and a budget deficit of more than $4.5 billion, the question remains: how exactly is Arizona going to pay for their new enforcement law? Gov. Brewer cites a $10 million investment in local law enforcement—federal stimulus money the state received from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. There’s also controversial one-cent sales tax increase to be voted on in May. But considering the number of immigrants and Latinos who would potentially leave the state due to the new law—taking with them their tax dollars, businesses and purchasing power—as well as potential law suits, calls for a boycott and loss in tourism, Arizona is likely to fall even deeper into debt.

Today, a USA Today article reported that “the Arizona agency tasked with training 15,000 law officers to enforce the state’s controversial new illegal immigration law has asked federal authorities for assistance, but administration officials say it is unclear whether the government will help.” But how much free help can they expect to get from a federal government threatening to challenge the constitutionality of their new law?

The bottom line, however, is that no matter how much Arizona spends on law enforcement training, the people of Arizona (the undocumented, documented and slightly tanned) will ultimately lose if people are afraid to enter their state.

Photo by Bebopsmile.

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  • Montana

    Arizona can pass race base laws, pass Birthers laws, pass no permit conceal weapons laws and the state can continue to boycott Martin Luther King Day, well the rest of the Country can boycott the state of Arizona and spank them where it hurts them the most their pocket book. Their phony patriotism is sickening, they are just racists going by another name. We all know you are just itching to put a sheet on their head? Let’s face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with health care, immigration, climate change and financial oversight and governance and they failed. It appears that the Republican Party is only good at starting wars (two in eight years, with fat contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the continuing line of body bags that keep coming home. The Republicans party will continue turned inward to their old fashion obstructionist party (and their Confederacy appreciation roots) because they continue to allow a small portions (but very loud portion) of their party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to rule their party. I will admit that this fringe is very good at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill programmed robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Birthers and the Tea party crowd think they can scare, intimidate and force others to go along with them by comments like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you something not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and understand that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and people like Hamilton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt believed that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now it’s about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many empty suits and the crazy Birthers who have not learned that the way our courts work is that you get a competent lawyer, verifiable facts and present them to a judge, if the facts are real and not half baked internet lies, then, and only then, do you proceed to trial. The Birthers seem to be having a problem with their so called “facts”. Let’s face it no one will take the Birthers seriously until they win a case, but until then, you will continue to appear dumb, crazy or racist, or maybe all three. I heard that Orly Taitz now wants to investigate the “Republican 2009 Summer of Love” list: Assemblyman, Michael D. Duvall (CA), Senator John Ensign (NV), Senator Paul Stanley (TN), Governor Mark Stanford (SC), Board of Ed Chair, and Kristin Maguire AKA Bridget Keeney (SC), she wants to re-establish a family values party, that’s like saying that the Catholic Church cares about the welling being of children in their care, too late for that.

  • Ted

    Have you read the law? Do you realize that the law specifically states that law enforcement officers CANNOT do what the detractors fear might happen?

    It states that a law enforcement officer cannot use color, race, ethnicity as criteria. It states that law enforcement officers must have probable cause.

    If you haven’t read the law, I suggest you read it before trying to fight it.

  • Policy Center

    You’re absolutely right, Ted. That’s what the law states. But what the law states and what actually happens on the ground could very well be two different things. Why create a framework that encourages racial profiling?

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  • Connie Ortega

    Will not be traveling or spending any tourist dollars in unfarizona. Don’t feel like getting pulled over by a racist cop for being a US citizen but looking “illegal” (hispanic). Think I’ll visit Mexico instead this summer.

  • Jan Brewer is the only response for the economic crash in the next days on Arizona. There are more solutions for the immigration problems than this law. Why she needs to follow an old system of racism and and hate for the immigrants?

  • Kim

    Sure Ted, that is going to make a difference cause the law forbids it… so who do you think the police will reasonably suspect to be an illegal immigrant? You are just fooling yourself!

  • Kumar

    I’m NOT Hispanic, I’m am a brown-skinned legal immigrant(originally from India) living in TX for the past 15 years. I have my dad, mom and cousin who are visiting from India. We did plan on going to Grand Canyon during September. But after seeing this law, we abandoned our plans. Even though I have all the papers required to prove that I’m a legal worker, I’m afraid the cop who stops me will not have the expertise to read the list of approval notices, LCA, I140, AC21, I485 application, EAD, AOS, AP to know that I’m legal. No offense to the cops but the list of papers I have to show to prove that I’m legal is at least 10 and it takes a well experience person to understand what they are and how they are related, it’s not a card or DL like some would think.

    Sure, if the officer does not understand, he/she may refer me to ICE and they should have the expertise to sort things out and let me go…and how long is that going to take 2 hours? 2 days? Where am I going to be till then? Cops car? Jail?

    No way I’m going to Arizona. Sorry Arizona. I budgeted about 12K for my 6 day trip, but thanks to the new law, I’ll be spending my money to get a pergola and spend time with my family right in my backyard!

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  • Phillip Ley

    The police are not to use racial profiling, but, given that ordinary citizens can sue the cop who does not do his/her job, how many cops are going to abide by the letter of the law. If they use a bit a racial profiling in Arizona, who will convict them of that infraction. Racism is the name of the game in that state.

  • Well done Montana.That’s the truth. Thank’s.