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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Boycott Costs Arizona $140M, Huge Losses Expected

Article first published as Arizona Boycott Costs $140M and is a Warning to Other States on Technorati, author Tim Paynter


Civil rights leaders continue to support a boycott of the state of Arizona after aggressive legislation designed to send an anti-immigrant message was signed into law. The boycott has already cost $140 million and shattered lives.


The boycott was in response to SB 1070 which requires police to detain any person suspected of being an illegal immigrant. Since the law cannot say who fits the profile of an undocumented person, the burden fell on the backs of Latinos.

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While parts of the law were stricken down as "unconstitutional”, other portions remain in full effect, namely portions attacking day laborers. Sections are being litigated now, and will go into effect if the lawsuit, which is costing Arizona millions, is won. Latino activists say it does not matter what part of the law remains in effect. The law is based in hate and in an attempt to put down Hispanics.  Until the entire law is repealed, the boycott should continue!


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Meanwhile, state Sen. Russell Pearce (Rep.) is moving ahead with more anti-Latino legislation. He wants to strip citizenship from children of undocumented workers born in the U.S. In addition, measures attacking little kids in Arizona grade schools, junior high school and high schools will require teachers to identify –call out- children of undocumented workers. Those schools may receive less funding and the children may be deported. It is a tacit signal for school administration to give Mexican children a cold shoulder, a message which educators resent.


At the same time, Sheriff Joe Arpaio is recruiting Hollywood personalities, including Steven Segal, along with actors Lou Ferrigno who played the Incredible Hulk, and Peter Lupus, who is best known as one of the first Hollywood actors to pose nude for Playgirl magazine, in order to attract armed "citizen" posse members.  The posse will be responsible for ferreting out undocumented workers mixed within the population, just as Nazi spies were recruited to ferret out Jews in various European countries.


Those who support the boycott advance two messages: First, when discriminatory laws are passed hate costs. Arizona has paid a horrible economic price under leadership which continues to divide the Grand Canyon state.


The second message?  As other states contemplate passing similar anti-immigrant legislation, restrict driver’s licenses, pass laws restricting government services and access to education, best take a look at Arizona. Hate costs wherever it rears its ugly head.


Just how much has the extremist laws in Arizona cost? $140 million dollars so far.  The Immigration Policy Center said it will ultimately cost "in the hundreds of millions of dollars".  That equates to $14 million tax dollars in first round spending alone. If one considers the $140 million would have been re-spent at least three times, the true cost to Arizona businesses is over $420 million dollars, nearly a half billion dollars! The loss of tax dollars is $42 million dollars!


While the businesses, employees, media outlets and manufacturers are just out the income, a hungry state won’t be denied. When Arizona government taxing agencies can’t get everything they need from sales and use taxes, they often turn to property taxes as a last ditch source of revenue. When there are fewer people using utilities, the public service company seeks to make up those losses through rate increases. When government agencies choke on reduced revenues, they reduce the services available to citizens.


On a human level, the cost to Arizona has been horrific.  Shopping centers that used to be full on Saturdays are now vacant.  Commercial property is distressed.  In some Latino subdivisions, one out of every three houses is dark at night, waiting for the lending company to come get the key.  Thousands have left the state, never to return.  Many were citizens and permanent residents who left with their undocumented wives and children. 


A respected Scottsdale-based economic firm Elliott D. Pollack & Co. did the audit. Few argue with the firm’s figures as they have a sterling reputation for telling it like it is.


“This is as much I think to serve a warning to other states, particularly those who rely on tourism and conferences and conventions, that there is an economic impact to it," Angela Kelley from the Center of American Progress. "We feel like this is a very modest slice, just a piece of what the economic impact is, and we don't think that we're overstating it or overselling it."


Quietly, many business people allied with the Republican Party wish Governor Jan Brewer and State Sen. Russell Pearce had left immigration enforcement to the federal government.  This is a lesson that should be well considered by other states considering the adoption of similar measures.

Tim Paynter

120 So Kalamath St Denver, Co 80223 USA
720 951 1700

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