The liberal research group Center for American Progress found that SB 1070 has turned off travelers and kept plenty of conference and conventions out of Arizona–to the tune of $141 million in lost revenue.
CAP’s research showed that actual lost lodging revenue from hotel and convention venue cancellations amounted to a $45 million loss, three times what the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association had publicly estimated. CAP said that if in-town transportation, shopping and other restaurant and travel costs were included, the real impact would be more than a hundred million dollars. But it won’t slow down anytime soon; CAP foresees that Arizona successfully made the state an unattractive place to do business or travel to when it passed SB 1070 in April. According to the report, bookings through the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau in July and August of this year had seen a 35 percent dip from the previous year.
Part of Arizona’s new pariah status came about because of a boycott that was called shortly after Gov. Jan Brewer signed it into law. Brewer’s oft-uttered lies about phantom headless bodies found in the Arizona desert likely do not help attract visitors to the state.
SB 1070 requires law enforcement officials to inquire about the immigration status of anyone they have reasonable suspicion to believe might be in the state without papers while police are enforcing state, local and even civil code. A bevy of lawsuits are being argued against the law in several courts around the country.
The news should serve as a warning to states attempting to pass their own copycat bills. If respecting the rights and humanity of immigrants and people of color isn’t argument enough, perhaps basic economic sense will convince them.
Guess Brewer should start asking for donations for more than just SB 1070’s legal defense fund.