Seeking the best way to boycott Arizona over immigration law

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By Robert McCartney
Thursday, April 29, 2010

The question isn't whether to start an economic boycott to pressure Arizona to repeal its new immigration law. For me, that's a given.

The question is which products and services to blacklist to get results fastest, while minimizing needless harm.

Proposals abound already. Conventions. Tourism. Lettuce (a major Arizona product).

I vote to start with baseball, and I'm not alone. National and local Latino groups are actively discussing whether to urge people to boycott Arizona Diamondbacks games. One reason: Some of the team's owners are big donors to politicians who backed the bill.

They also want to move the 2011 All-Star Game out of Phoenix, and they might push to relocate the spring training Cactus League.

"Major League Baseball has been identified immediately as a major target," said Jeff Parcher, communications director of the Center for Community Change. "There's not only Latino players but also Latino attendance."

Arizona's been through this before. A conventions boycott pushed the state to resume recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1992. That was also the price for getting the 1996 Super Bowl.

The new effort is part of a strong, instant backlash among Latinos against the Arizona law signed last week. Nationwide rallies on Saturday seem likely to attract passionate crowds, including at the White House, where civil disobedience is planned.

"In our community, we are ready to fight," said Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA of Maryland.

For many Americans, including in our region, the immigration controversy has seemed dormant since 2007. However, frustration has continued to swell in Arizona and some other states over the federal government's failure to address the presence of about 12 million illegal residents in the nation.

On the other side, immigrant rights groups are upset with President Obama for failing to show more leadership on the issue.

Now the surge of activism from both camps has put the issue back on the nation's agenda. So, pick your side. Is your priority finding a way to convert illegal immigrants to citizens? Or is it more important to deport them as punishment for living here on the sly?


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