Hispanic Groups Plan National Boycott of Arizona Businesses

KVOA 23 (Tucson), May 19

Civilian border watch groups. Laws that limit government services illegal immigrants can use. Lawmakers trying to declare English as the official state language and require government functions be conducted in English.

Illegal immigrant rights activists say the recent groundswell of anti-immigration measures in Arizona is making the lives of immigrants, and anyone who looks like one, miserable and must be countered in kind: by making the lives of Arizonans more difficult through lost business and tourism.

To do that, activists are planning a national boycott of Arizona businesses and tourism sites in early July to draw attention to the contribution illegal workers make to the state.

The national effort follows a Phoenix-area boycott of businesses last week that caused a few businesses to limit their services and at least one to close for the day.

Activists say the recent groundswell of anti-illegal-immigration measures are making the lives of immigrants miserable.

They hope the planned boycotts, one a long-term national effort to divert conventions and sporting events elsewhere and the other a three-day economic protest of local businesses, will put political pressure on Arizona legislators to take a more moderate stance on immigration issues.

Breaking the Chains, the group organizing the national boycott, hopes to kick off its campaign July 1.

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Bermudez’s group is asking Hispanics around Arizona to not spend any money from July 2-4.

By closing their wallets for three days, the Hispanic community will show local businesses how vital they are to the state economy, according to Bermudez.

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Arizona last saw a large-scale boycott of tourism and convention sites in the late 1980s, after former Gov. Evan Mecham rescinded an executive order signed by his predecessor, Bruce Babbitt, to create a holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

At that time, Arizona was a contender to host the Super Bowl in 1996 and angry executives threatened to take Arizona off the short list unless the state enacted a King holiday. Voters approved the holiday a few years later.

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