A diverse, welcoming community of open hearts and minds since 1948
One of the nation's most prominent Hispanic groups announced late Friday that it is calling off its boycott of Arizona imposed in May 2010 after the Legislature and governor enacted the controversial immigration Senate Bill 1070.
The National Council of La Raza said it was canceling its boycott because it successfully discouraged other states from enacting similar laws, and the boycott imposed a hardship on the workers, businesses and organizations it aimed to help.
Five other states, Alabama, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah, passed similar laws and all of them face legal challenges and injunctions, according to La Raza.
The Washington-based group said that effective immediately it and two other La Raza-associated groups would ask other organizations to suspend their Arizona boycotts.
La Raza also said the boycott spurred political results in Arizona, namely an increase in Latino voters and defeat in the Legislature of more proposed immigration laws, including a measure that would have changed how U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants are granted citizenship.
Both Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's office and the Real Arizona Coalition, a broad collection of state business, faith and Latino groups, in August sent La Raza letters asking it to end the boycotts and work toward immigration reform.
The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau on Friday issued a statement saying, "The lifting of the boycott is clearly a step in the right direction. It acknowledges that illegal immigration is not just an Arizona issue but a national one, and it makes it easier for the community to get back to the business of booking conventions."
Gonzalo de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of , lauded the move and said it means groups are shifting their priorities toward issues "that really matter," such as federal immigration reform.
When the national coalition announced its boycott May 6, 2010, it and other groups vowed not to hold conferences, major conventions or special events in Arizona until SB 1070 was repealed. They asked other groups to do the same. The boycotts hurt the state's economy, but it's unknown by how much.
A study by the Center for American Progress estimated that boycotts cost the state at least $140 million over a three-year period from conventions already cancelled and potentially up to $750 million in total economic losses.