September 12, 2011; Source: The Orange County Register | In May 2010, the National Council of La Raza(NCLR), America’s leading Latino civil rights and advocacy group, initiated a nationwide boycott of Arizona in protest of immigration laws advocates found discriminatory and unfair.
The action has been estimated to cost the state, which relies heavily on tourism, hundreds of millions in lost revenue from cancelled conventions and has earned the state a reputation for being hostile to Latinos, immigrants and people of color.
La Raza has now called off the boycott, much to the disappointment of local groups. NCLR reasons that the action has achieved its purpose. It claims that other states have been discouraged from enacting similar immigration laws.
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The National Conference of State Legislatures reportsthat in the first half of 2011 alone, state lawmakers introduced 1,592 bills and resolutions relating to immigrants, a 16 percent increase from the same period last year. One hundred fifty one laws have been enacted and 95 resolutions adopted around law enforcement and employment issues, and to the disadvantage of immigrant individuals and families.
Arizona might have lost millions of dollars but NCLR and immigrant advocates have not been able to stem the tide of strident anti-immigration initiatives. This will be continue to be a challenge as Americans struggle with economic insecurity and fast changing demographics.—Erwin de Leon