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As California boycott of Arizona immigration law picks up steam, Hispanic community stands to lose

by Christopher A. Guzman, published

After Governor Jan Brewer’s signing of the new immigration law in Arizona, various California officials met the law with opposition, calling for a boycott of the Grand Canyon State’s businesses.  Particular businesses targeted by opposition to the law are mainly essential, travel-related services, including food and lodging necessary when officials conduct state business.

In effect, the boycotts California officials mean for good may have unintended consequence for the Hispanic community, a community with whom these politicians seek solidarity.


Byron York of the Washington Examiner superbly raises the hypothetical effects of what would happen if an actual boycott took place.  Mr. York does not limit his argument to merely the travel industry; rather, he seeks to uncover the broader implications.

“Right now, it's all just talk. But what would happen if the boycotts become a reality? In addition to tourism, Arizona is a major presence in the construction, health care, manufacturing and aerospace industries. What if some cities, or even entire states, canceled their business with Arizona-based companies?,” York writes in his Examiner column.

Wisely, he points out that California is tied to Arizona in particular industries like healthcare and construction.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the travel industry alone stands to lose up to $90 million in hotel and convention revenue as a result of boycotts to the state. In another news report, a case is made that the Hispanic community (not the legislature) might just be the biggest losers of boycotts.

According to an estimate of lost revenue, the 23 groups that have canceled their conventions in the state have already caused Arizona to lose between $6 million and $10 million.  The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association has come out against the boycotts, saying that it is more likely to hurt low wage workers in the tourism industry (many of whom happen to be Hispanic).

As noted previously, members of the Los Angeles city council came down hard on the new law, aggressively mounting a campaign against it by signing a proposal, as well as going on a television campaign on conservative-leaning Fox News. Northern California followed suit, with the mayor of San Francisco issuing an executive order banning business travel by city workers to Arizona.

With an anti-Arizona frenzy seemingly spreading in a virus-like fashion, the Los Angeles Times is now reporting that the city councils of West Hollywood and Oakland have passed resolutions condemning Arizona and promoting boycotts in what the Times calls “symbolic” moves against the law.  The cities of San Diego and Santa Ana have also passed resolutions against SB1070.

However, instead of thinking through an alternative solution to illegal immigration, California politicians are taking a gamble with their boycott movement that might end up crippling Hispanics in an already struggling economy.

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