Monday, May 3, 2010

Boycott Arizona -- Another Update

Things continue to be hot on the Boycott Arizona front.

  • The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association said Friday that 19 meetings representing 15,000 room nights have been canceled because of the immigration law. The cancellations could have an economic impact of more than $6 million.

  • One of the most recent groups to cancel is the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the oldest integrated and historically black Greek-lettered organization in the world, which will be moving its 104th Anniversary Convention from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Said Herman "Skip" Mason, Jr., the fraternity's national general president: "It was the full opinion of the board that we could not host a meeting in a state that has sanctioned a law which we believe will lead to racial profiling and discrimination, and a law that could put the civil rights and the very dignity of our members at risk during their stay in Phoenix Arizona." The meeting was expected to draw 10,000 visitors.

  • A chorus of Latino celebrities have spoken out against the Arizona anti-immigrant bill including Shakira, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan, and Paulina Rubio.

  • Lawsuits were filed in Tucson federal court by fifteen-year police veteran Martin Escobar, who argues that there's no way for officers to confirm people's immigration status without impeding investigations, and in a federal court in Phoenix by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders who are seeking an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law.
The protests have already had some effect. On Friday, Governor Jan Brewer signed a "follow-on" bill attempting to modify some of the most egregious aspects of the new law:

...Changes to the bill language will actually remove the word "solely" from the sentence, "The attorney general or county attorney shall not investigate complaints that are based solely on race, color or national origin."

Another change replaces the phrase "lawful contact" with "lawful stop, detention or arrest" to apparently clarify that officers don't need to question a victim or witness about their legal status.

A third change specifies that police contact over violations for local civil ordinances can trigger questioning on immigration status...

But Arizona has taken additional steps to shore up its anti-diversity reputation in other ways:

1. The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English. State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. Please note that we are not just talking about English or ESL teachers here, where such requirements would be understandable, but also teachers of math, physics, etc...The problem again is that nobody defines "heavily accented" or "ungrammatical". Does this mean that the teacher who lets an occasional folksy "ain't" slip from her mouth gets reassigned? What about the one with a Southern drawl? Does he have to sign up for accent reduction classes?

2. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer now has on her desk a measure (HB 2281) that targets an ethnic studies program from a Tucson school district. Among other things, the bill would prohibit classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group. Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Tom Horne — who's running for attorney general — has been trying for years to pass a bill limiting the program after learning that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta told Tucson high school students in 2006 that "Republicans hate Latinos." Maybe we should ban all school districts in Arizona from teaching about the First Amendment as well in case the students "get ideas"...


  1. The real flaw in the logic here is that some folks believe that the violence and illegal activity is due to undocumented workers. In reality, violent crime is down in Arizona but the media and the hard-liners in AZ make sure that if an undocumented worker is involved, it's big news, but the facts are that violent crime has slowed in the last few years in AZ. The law passed isn't going to stop the real problem which are drug runners and smugglers, It isn't even going to slow them down.

    There was a great article in the LA Times featuring an interview with an ex-Phoenix cop who had to deal with these issues. (

    And he said it very plainly after a white cop was killed: "I told people that it's not whites or Hispanics who killed Marc," he said back then. "It's drug-dealing cop killers. The issue isn't ethnicity — it's crime and drugs."

    And this is the real problem with this law is that it doesn't address the real issue, at all.

  2. Very smart move…duh! To boycott the hotels. Who suffers? The waiters and bus boys that work for tips. The chamber maids get their hours cut, kitchen staff the same. Who pays the price of this protest? Workers. many of them most likely Latinos.