Arizona faces immigrant law backlash

Immigrants, activists and supporters of illegal immigrants rally against a new Arizona law outside of Federal Plaza in New York City.

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: Arizona's tough new legislation targeting undocumented immigrants is making the state itself a target. The law was passed and signed by the governor less than a week ago, but already the state is facing lawsuits over its constitutionality. Today U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the federal government may challenge it. Mexico's president is warning of a strain in trade and political ties, and even die-hard spring training fans are taking to Facebook to say they'll boycott next year's Cactus League games.

Marketplace's Jeff Tyler has more on the backlash.


JEFF TYLER: Los Angeles is one city considering cutting its economic ties with Arizona. In San Francisco today, elected officials introduced a resolution at a board of supervisors meeting.

City attorney Dennis Herrera.

DENNIS Herrera: The resolution will consider urging city departments to not enter into contracts to purchase goods and services from Arizona-based companies.

But Arizona's governor Jan Brewer says she doesn't believe the controversial law will hurt the state's economy. She says business leaders worry more about crimes committed by illegal immigrants.

JAN Brewer: When I go about meeting with businesses that come into Arizona that are trying to locate here, or businesses that are here, they want to know that we have a safe and secure environment.

But the environment for tourism has been soured by the legislation.

WILL Conroy: It is affecting us as a business, significantly.

Will Conroy is president of the Arizona Inn -- a small boutique hotel in Tucson. In recent days, he's received calls and e-mails from loyal customers who have changed their travel plans.

Conroy: It's just upsetting to read these e-mails. People that love the inn, but that are putting their feelings about Arizona first. And they won't be coming back, they say.

Arizona was the target of another boycott in the '80s, when the state initially refused to adopt a Martin Luther King holiday. Hundreds of conventions were canceled, and the state lost the chance to host the Super Bowl.

So far this time, only one group has pulled out -- appropriately, the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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