The National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group, has canceled its 16-month boycott of meetings in Arizona.
NCLR organized the boycott in May 2010 to protest legislation passed by the state in April 2010 that was considered the strictest illegal-immigration statute in the country. Many feared the new law, SB 1070, would lead to racial profiling because it allowed local law enforcement to stop individuals, including U.S. residents, to check immigration status based on “reasonable suspicion” that he or she was in the country without proof of citizenship and made it a state crime to be an illegal alien.
U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., organized a similar boycott days after the bill was signed, however he called it off in late July 2010 after a judge struck out the most controversial provisions of the law, including the requirement that aliens carry and present registration papers upon request. At the time, NCLR cheered the judge’s decision but said its boycott would remain in effect until “the law is permanently repealed, overturned by the courts, or superseded by federal comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”
A study released last November calculated that the meetings boycott of Arizona had resulted in $141 million in lost meetings-related revenue for the state.
NCLR announced its decision September 9 in a letter to the Real Arizona Coalition, a collection of businesses, interfaith groups, and community leadership organizations that had asked for the boycott to be lifted. NCLR wrote: “… We understand and appreciate the reasons why you believe the boycott should end. In that vein, we are also aware of the hardship it has imposed on many of the workers, businesses, and organizations whose interests we seek to advance. We are hopeful that the more respectful and civil tone that you and many others have worked so hard to establish in recent months will continue. In that spirit, effective immediately, our three organizations [NCLR, Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights, and Asian American Justice Center] will suspend the boycott and cease all efforts to discourage conventions or meetings in Arizona, or to discourage our partners from participating in such meetings.”