Activist coalition threatens Arizona boycott to protest immigrant legislation

A coalition of Latino activists and immigration groups are urging Gov. Doug Ducey to throw out anti-immigrant legislation, threatening to renew a statewide boycott if certain immigration measures become law.

Roberto Reveles, president of the Somos America Coalition, said at a news conference this week the Arizona Legislature is promoting hateful bills and extremist policies, “making life miserable for undocumented immigrants.”

Reveles said if anti-immigrant legislation continues the group will ask those traveling to Arizona to boycott the state, as it did six years ago in the wake of SB 1070. He urged Ducey not to sign such legislation.

“We would contact our network throughout the nation informing them the state government has resumed its anti-immigrant, racist bills,” Reveles said.

Ducey spokesman Daniel Scarpinato called any boycott “a stunt that should be widely and vocally condemned,” according to the Associated Press.

“Let me be very clear,” he said in the AP story. “Any discussion of a boycott is election year politics at its worst and these groups should be ashamed of themselves for trying to divide Arizona and destroy our economy.”

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said a boycott would be wrong.

“Instead of trying to damage our state’s economy and reputation, they should be focused on constructive solutions that bring Arizonans together,” the chambers said.

Reveles told the media that bills being considered this session, like SB 1377, cause fear, making people feel targeted because of their ethnicity or race.

SB1377 states courts must impose the maximum sentence for a crime if an undocumented immigrant’s status is an aggravating factor. The bill also states no probation or parole is allowed, and the full sentence must be served.

“The law part of our society is telling certain people that we don’t want them here,” Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, said. “If they get in trouble with the law, they’re not going to be treated the same way as citizens are.”

Other concerns expressed was the possibility of legislation similar to the controversial 2010 immigration law passing at the end of the legislative term. Activist groups such as Somos America imposed a boycott on Arizona businesses.

Joanne Woods, an activist with Somos America, hopes Ducey will decide human rights are in jeopardy based on the legislation moving through the House and Senate.

“I’m hoping that Gov. Ducey sees the humanitarian cause that we’re proposing,” Woods said.