Is History Repeating Itself In Arizona?
The number of legal visitors entering Arizona from Mexico has plumeted since the controversy of increased enforcement of state immigration laws. Ever since Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the immigration enforcement law in April cross border visits in the state have fallen 17% compared with the same period in 2009, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
Reduced Tourism can be blamed on “a little bit of everything”, says Erik Lee, associate director of the North American center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. Perhaps. Our nation is still in the throes of a recession (Depression!!!???) despite what the media tells us. Yet timing is everything. The blow to the Arizona’s tourist economy is significant. Southern Arizona’s economy thrives on Mexican shoppers. The irony simply cannot be ignored.
In fiscal year 2007-2009, data from the Custom and Border Protection Agency shows nearly 209 million people arrived into the US legally from ports in Mexico. That number is now down 10% last year, prior to the new law.
Mexico warned citizens about travel to Arizona a week before Gov. Brewer signed the new law. Almost 23,400 wage and salary jobs in Arizona are directly attributed to Mexican visitor spending as $2.7 billion was spent at shops, restaurants and other businesses in 2007-2008. Time will tell.
I am reminded of Ghandi bringing the British Empire to its knees by his well timed and well planned boycotts. An Empire which at one time claimed, “the sun never set upon” it’s colonies. Of course Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , taking a page from Ghandi’s book, used economics to leverage power during his Montgomery Bus Boycott. Somehow, we take the dollar very seriously when it comes to making a business point. After all, the business of America is business. The Latino/Latina population in Arizona is angry,as are their brothers and sisters in Mexico. They feel discriminated against. Something must be done. Is history repeating itself in Arizona? If so I wouldn’t be surprised. Those who do not learn from the past are always bound to repeat it. Yet one thing is certain. The drop in legal Mexican visitors is beginning to hurt Arizona. This will definitely begin to get someone’s attention. Perhaps nothing really is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. It appears a Declaration of Dependence may be in order. We’ll see.