Category Archives: Arizona

Arizona Immigration Law Boycott Could Cost Phoenix $90 Million

Posted by: BuellBoy

AP~A city official says Phoenix could possibly lose hotel and convention center business worth about $90 million over the next five years because of fallout from Arizona’s new immigration law.

The law has attracted international attention as well as calls for tourists and businesses to boycott Arizona.

A deputy city manager who is monitoring the issue – David Krietor – says city and tourism officials in Phoenix have compiled a “watch list” tracking the potential fallout. The list includes four organizations that have canceled events and more than a dozen groups that have expressed concerns about the new law.

The $90 million figure represents the estimated amount of money that those groups’ members would spend in the region. Some events are scheduled to take place this year, while others are booked as far out at 2015.

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Los Suns Also Rise: Phoenix Suns Win in More Ways Than One

Posted by: BuellBoy

Written by Dave Ziran

Anyone who believes that sports can’t be an effective platform for social justice, needed only to watch last night’s game between Los Suns of Phoenix and the San Antonio Spurs. The unprecedented decision by the entire Suns organization – from owner Robert Sarver to star players Amare Stoudamire and Steve Nash – to wear uniforms blaring Los Suns and come out against Arizona’s anti-immigrant Senate Bill 1070, created a sports broadcast like no other in my lifetime. The game on TNT began with sideline reporter Marty Snider outside the arena covering a mushrooming 3,000 person civil rights march, led by Al Sharpton and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon (both wearing Los Suns Jerseys.) Then the scene switched to the pre-game studio with host Ernie Johnson and former players Kenny “the Jet” Smith, Chris Webber, and Charles Barkley. The viewing audience then got an unexpected and bracing lesson in dissent.

Kenny Smith, like any good point guard, set up the others by saying, “I think it’s great that the team understands, the management understands and now the people of Phoenix are all rallying together at the same time.” Barkley, a long time Arizona resident and a man who once said that he was a Republican until “the Republicans lost their damn minds” chimed in saying, “The only people screwing it up are the politicians. The Governor – the interim governor I might add – J.D. Hayworth and John McCain. They’re the ones screwing this thing up. I really take my hat off to Robert Sarver and the Suns for taking a stand. You know, living in Arizona for a long time, the Hispanic community, they’re like the fabric of the cloth. They’re part of our community and any time you try to do any type of racial profiling or racial discrimination……. President Obama you’ve got to do something because these lightweight politicians in Arizona have no idea what they are doing.”

The typically blunt Barkley speaking in such terms is hardly surprising. But it was Chris Webber who upped the ante, interrupting a visibly uncomfortable Ernie Johnson with, “Public Enemy said it a long time ago. ‘By the Time I Get to Arizona.’ I’m not surprised. They didn’t even want there to be a Martin Luther King day when John McCain was in [office.]. So if you follow history you know that this is part of Arizona politics.”

It was a remarkable display and it was difficult to not think of the millions of television viewers around the country, in sports bars, restaurants, and house parties, being confronted with this kind of forthright, plainspoken language. But perhaps even more important than the support Los Suns received from protestors and broadcasters, was their play on the court. Phoenix trailed by nine at the end of the first quarter and Spurs star power forward Tim Duncan was scoring with ease. The crowd was dead and it wasn’t difficult to envision what would be said in the SportsWorld if Phoenix lost: “The political hoopla was a distraction.” “This is why sports and politics don’t mix.” “They should have been focused on the Spurs and not immigration.” And grinning smugly would have been LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson who chided the Suns yesterday saying, “If I heard it right the American people are really for stronger immigration laws…. I don’t think teams should get involved in the political stuff.”

In other words, everyone who stands with SB 1070 would be feeling a little more joyful this morning. It would have been an echo of the time Muhammad Ali lost his first fight to Joe Frazier and all the columnists and fans who wanted to see the draft dodging Ali punished, chortled gleefully after he was knocked to the canvas. But just when we were all ready to stick a fork in the brick-laying Suns, something remarkable happened. The slick shooting, fast breaking team started to crash the boards, play ugly, and do all the dirty work that wins games. Doughy, undersized three point shooter Jared Dudley started aggressively snatching offensive rebounds like his soul had been possessed by Barkley himself, energizing the crowd and shocking his team back to life. The result was a 110-102 victory in which the run and gun Suns were held to just eight fast break points. Coach Alvin Gentry said afterward that he had never seen the team play so mentally tough.

Maybe this will be the start of a new trend where teams see the unifying benefits of going out on a political limb and taking a stand. Maybe players across the sports leagues who oppose SB 1070 will be inspired to come together in a common organization and demand Arizona cease the imposition of “Juan Crow” on the Latino population. Maybe the major sports unions, all of whom have voiced opposition to the bill, will release a joint statement saying that they will support any player or team who boycotts the state as long as SB 1070 is on the books. Maybe this is all utterly unrealistic. But it seems a hell of a lot more possible this morning than it did last night. Vivan Los Suns.

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Dave Zirin is a sports correspondent for The Nation Magazine

Follow Dave Zirin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/edgeofsports

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Arizona Ethnic Studies Classes Banned, Teachers With Accents Can No Longer Teach English…WTF?

Posted by: BuellBoy

HP~Arizona’s new immigration law is just about crime, its supporters say, but given that the state’s new education policy equates ethnic studies programs with high treason, they may not be using the commonly accepted definition of “crime.”

Under the ban, sent to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer by the state legislature Thursday, schools will lose state funding if they offer any courses that “promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, promote resentment of a particular race or class of people, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

As ThinkProgress notes, the Tucson Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department is the target here. The state superintendent charges that the program exhibits “ethnic chauvinism.”

Meanwhile, in a move that was more covert until the Wall Street Journal uncovered it, the Arizona Department of Education has told schools that teachers with “heavy” or “ungrammatical” accents are no longer allowed to teach English classes.

As outlined by the Journal, Arizona’s recent pattern of discriminatory education policies is ironic — and is likely a function of No Child Left Behind funding requirements — given that the state spent a decade recruiting teachers for whom English was a second language.

In the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of a broad bilingual-education program. Many were recruited from Latin America.

Then in 2000, voters passed a ballot measure stipulating that instruction be offered only in English. Bilingual teachers who had been instructing in Spanish switched to English.

Teachers who don’t meet the new fluency standards have the option of taking classes to improve their English, the Journal reports, but if they fail to reach the state’s targets would be fired or reassigned.

Arizona Expands Its Discrimination: Teachers With Heavy Accents Can’t Teach English, Ethnic Studies Are Banned

ThinkProgress~Adding insult to injury, the Arizona legislature passed a bill yesterday outlawing ethnic studies programs:

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity “instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.”

It also would ban classes that “promote resentment toward a race or class of people.”

The measure is directed at the Tuscon Unified School District’s popular Mexican-American studies department, which school officials say provides only “historical information” — not “ethnic chauvanism” as the state school superintendent has alleged. One state lawmaker tried to show how ridiculous the legislation is by proposing that schools be barred from teaching about 9/11 because it would result in hatred toward Arab-Americans; the measure failed.

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Lawsuits Over AZ Immigration Law Filed By Police Officer, Latino Group

Posted by: BuellBoy

AP~Anger mounted Thursday over an Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration as a police officer filed one of the first lawsuits challenging the law and activists gathered outside an Arizona Diamondbacks game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, chanting “Boycott Arizona.”

The lawsuit from 15-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar is one of two filed Thursday, less than a week after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law that’s sparked fears it will lead to racial profiling despite the governor’s vow that officers will be properly trained.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government may challenge the law, which requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.

Escobar, an overnight patrol officer in a heavily Latino area of Tucson, argues there’s no way for officers to confirm people’s immigration status without impeding investigations, and that the new law violates numerous constitutional rights.

Tucson police spokesman Sgt. Fabian Pacheco said Escobar is acting on his own, not on behalf of the department.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders also filed a lawsuit Thursday, and is seeking an injunction preventing authorities from enforcing the law. The group argues federal law pre-empts state regulation of national borders, and that Arizona’s law violates due process rights by letting police detain suspected illegal immigrants before they’re convicted.

“Mexican-Americans are not going to take this lying down,” singer Linda Ronstadt, a Tucson native, said at a state Capitol news conference on another lawsuit planned by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Immigration Law Center.

At least three Arizona cities – Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson – are considering legal action to block the law. In Flagstaff, police are investigating a threatening e-mail sent to members of the city council over their opposition to the law. The author said council members should be “arrested, tried in court, found guilty of treason and hanged from the nearest tree!”

About 40 immigrant rights activists gathered outside Wrigley Field in Chicago Thursday as the Cubs open a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. A small plane toting a banner criticizing the law circled the stadium, and activist George Lieu said they’ve sent a letter to Cubs management asking them to stop holding spring training in Arizona.

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Arizona Boycott Goes Viral As State’s Tourism Industry Tries to Fight Back

BNet.com/Barbara E. Hernandez~While Arizona tourism tries to resist the tidal wave of anti-Arizona sentiment triggered by the state’s passage of a tough new law that targets illegal immigrants, it may be a losing battle when stacked up against viral social media and negative word-of-mouth. Worse, the state looks to lose 3.8 million visitors a year from Mexico, whose citizens are now leery of police stops and harassment.

The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association set up its own Facebook page, called “Don’t Boycott AZ Tourism” most likely to battle the three other “Boycott Arizona” Facebook pages already in use, a petition site and a general Arizona-bashing. The Facebook page, which has the sub-headline of “Don’t punish 200k tourism employees for politics,” so far has 802 followers. The primary Boycott Arizona page has more than 11,000. That’s what the Arizona hospitality industry is up against — a very aggressive and antagonistic social media campaign oppposed to Arizona’s controversial new anti-immigrant laws.

So far it’s working. The American Immigration Lawyers Association notified JW Marriott in Scottsdale that it will cancel a 300-plus person event, saying, “We didn’t feel it was appropriate to have a meeting in (the) state.”

At the Arizona Inn in Tucson, 12 customers canceled reservations or said they wouldn’t come to the state because of the recent law.

“This is a very scary situation that the police can now just come up to you for no reason and ask for papers,” Joy Mann, a prospective guest who had previously stayed at the inn, wrote . . . in an e-mail message. “My son is a construction worker and is very suntanned. I cannot ask him to join us there now, as I would fear for him.”

The law may have even more consequences for international tourism. Visitors to Arizona spent $18.5 billion and supported about 167,000 jobs in 2008. Out of the 37 million visitors staying overnight, about 3.8 million came from Mexico, the largest single source of international visitors. The new anti-immigrant laws that may mean being pulled over by police and required to prove immigration status, will affect those visitors most. On Tuesday, Mexico issued a travel advisory for its citizens, telling them, “It must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time.”

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Arizona’s New Immigration Law is an Act of Vengeance by Eugene Robinson

Posted by: BuellBoy

Op-Ed by Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Eugene Robinson

Washington Post/Eugene Robinson—Arizona’s draconian new immigration law is an abomination — racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.

Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they “reasonably suspect” of being an undocumented immigrant — a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.

Activists for Latino and immigrant rights — and supporters of sane governance — held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn’t the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim — and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state — would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?

And what is the deal with Sen. John McCain? The self-proclaimed practitioner of “straight talk” was once a passionate advocate of sensible, moderate immigration reform. Now, facing a primary challenge from the right, he has praised the new law, which is as far from sensible and moderate as it could possibly be. Are six more years in the Senate really worth abandoning what seemed like bedrock principles? Or were those principles always situational?

Let me interrupt this tirade to point out that while Arizona has unquestionably done the wrong thing, it is understandable that exasperated officials believed they had to do something. Immigration policy and border security are federal responsibilities, and Washington has failed miserably to address what Arizonans legitimately see as a crisis.

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Breathing While Undocumented by Linda Greenhouse

Posted by: TheLCster

Op-ed by Linda Greenhouse

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse

NYT~I’m glad I’ve already seen the Grand Canyon.

Because I’m not going back to Arizona as long as it remains a police state, which is what the appalling anti-immigrant bill that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last week has turned it into.

What would Arizona’s revered libertarian icon, Barry Goldwater, say about a law that requires the police to demand proof of legal residency from any person with whom they have made “any lawful contact” and about whom they have “reasonable suspicion” that “the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States?” Wasn’t the system of internal passports one of the most distasteful features of life in the Soviet Union and apartheid-era South Africa?

And in case the phrase “lawful contact” makes it appear as if the police are authorized to act only if they observe an undocumented-looking person actually committing a crime, another section strips the statute of even that fig leaf of reassurance. “A person is guilty of trespassing,” the law provides, by being “present on any public or private land in this state” while lacking authorization to be in the United States — a new crime of breathing while undocumented. The intent, according to the State Legislature, is “attrition through enforcement.”

Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, a Democrat from Tucson, has already called on the nation’s business community to protest the law by withholding its convention business. Such boycotts can be effective, as demonstrated in the late-1980s when the loss not only of convention business but of — horrors! — the Super Bowl prompted Arizona voters to reinstate a Martin Luther King holiday in the state.

But a boycott is a blunt instrument that can hurt innocent business owners and their employees. So I will stick to my own personal protest without presuming to urge anyone else to follow my example.

Rather, I’ll offer a reflection on how, a generation ago, another of the country’s periodic anti-immigrant spasms was handled by the Supreme Court. In 1975, Texas passed a law to deprive undocumented immigrant children of a free public education. Many thousands of children — a good number of whom were on the road to eventual citizenship under immigration laws that were notably less harsh back then — faced being thrown out of school and deprived of a future.

…snip…

So what to do in the meantime? Here’s a modest proposal. Everyone remembers the wartime Danish king who drove through Copenhagen wearing a Star of David in support of his Jewish subjects. It’s an apocryphal story, actually, but an inspiring one. Let the good people of Arizona — and anyone passing through — walk the streets of Tucson and Phoenix wearing buttons that say: I Could Be Illegal.

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