Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Don't Boycott Arizona

This is not a political rant. I don't do political rants because I firmly believe that most politicians do only what is best for themselves, not necessarily what is best for the people. So this is not a political rant, this is a rant on logic.

Unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard about a new law passed in Arizona regarding illegal immigrants. Part of this legislation includes requiring law enforcement checking the identification of anyone they reasonably believe could be in the US illegally. And my god are people up in arms about this legislation. So much so that as of this writing, there are about a dozen Facebook pages dedicated to boycotting Arizona. And there are thousands of people signing up to these sites. And this is where the logic comes in to play.

Let's think about the tourism industry in general. The tourism industry includes such things as hotels, restaurants, shopping, golf and themed parks. Most of the jobs in the tourism industry are fairly low level. There are only so many management positions available and most jobs related to tourism are of the minimum to slightly above minimum wage variety. And who do you think fills those jobs? I'll give you a hint, it's not politicians. Let's assume that there is an even distribution of minorities to Caucasian working in the tourism industry (there isn't). We know that there are an estimated 200,000 people working in this industry. This means at least half of those, or 100,000, are minorities. The minorities that everyone is up in arms about "helping" by boycotting the state.

Let's think about that for a minute. You're pissed that Arizona passed a law that makes it okay for law enforcement to check the id of someone if they have reasonable suspicion that that person is here illegally. Your solution is to boycott the state. Less tourists mean less jobs for those people who do have a right to live and work here and who work in the tourism industry. Half of whom are the very same minorities that you are supposedly helping. I'm sure those people will be thrilled when they lose their job because the tourism industry went down the crapper from all the helpful activists out there.

That's the first issue. The second thing we need to worry about are the state and national parks. Here in Arizona there are a lot state and national parks, not the least of which is the Grand Canyon. We are also home to the Painted Desert, Monument Valley, Saguaro National Park and Kartchner Caverns to name a few. Due to the economy in Arizona, some of parks are already closing down. We can't afford to maintain them so the easiest thing to do is shut them down. If tourism goes down even more, we'll be shutting down even more. And that is an absolute crime. Places like Lost Dutchman state park where the wildflowers put on an incredible show every spring. This park is closing on June 1st of this year.

Lastly, there's the small businesses that survive only because of tourism. Mom and Pop restaurants in towns all around the state that squeak by every year because of the tourist season. Boutiques and specialty stores that cater to the tourist. The Native Americans that set up shop on the side of two lane highways rely almost exclusively on the tourists to buy their product to survive. Take away the tourists and most of these people will be completely financially ruined.

So at the end of the day what I'm saying is this: whether you agree with the law or not isn't really the issue. The real issue is whether you're going to encourage other people to help you destroy an industry that employs or allows to survive the very people you are purportedly "helping". I would argue that those who boycott Arizona are the bigger criminals than the politicians in this instance.


Anonymous said...

I wish our governor (in Alabama) would do the same as yours did. The illegals here seem to have more rights than the legal citizens do. Apparently it is OK to break certain laws since it is so difficult to actually enforce the immigration laws we have. Illegal is illegal. Get the proper paperwork, follow our laws, and speak our language, or get out of our country.

Anonymous said...

While I completely disagree with the recently passed law in Arizona, your points here are very valid. It is defintely food for thought for those who are calling for a boycott. Thanks very much.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree. If those in charge of these businesses to which you refer would simply not hire illegal immigrants all in the name of maximizing profits then this problem would never have occured. Your contempt should be directed at these so-called "leaders" and not at those trying to (misguidedly and completely incorrectly, in my opinion) fix the problem. That being said, when is it time to draw a line when civil liberties are being eroded? If not now, then how far is too far for you? Perhaps after you or a friend of yours are approached by a cop demanding to see your "papers"? Sounds like a slippery slope...

Anonymous said...

In response to Anon #3 "Perhaps after you or a friend of yours are approached by a cop demanding to see your "papers"? " We travel internationally fairly frequently. When we are in a foreign country, we are expected to have our passports with us, and have been asked to produce them on more than one occasion. It is what is expected, and I am happy to do so and would hope that visitors to our country feel the same way.