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Calls for boycott not affecting Az border businesses

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SB 1070

Calls for boycott not affecting Az border businesses

But travel advisory could be slowing Nogales sales

  • The border separating Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Ariz.
    bavetta/FlickrThe border separating Nogales, Sonora, and Nogales, Ariz.

A call to boycott Arizona in the wake of its new immigration policy might not be practical, say border-area residents.

Opponents hope a boycott will force the state to rescind a law signed by Gov. Jan Brewer last week that requires local and state police who stop people for another reason to question them about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally.

But the economies of Nogales, Son., and Nogales, Ariz., are so intertwined, and people are so accustomed to regularly crossing, that a boycott would damage both communities, a nurse from Nogales, Son., told the Associated Press.

"Border cities depend on each other and it has been that way for many years," said Maria Romero. "It seems they don't understand that on the other side and are always looking for ways to make things more difficult."

Nogales Mayor Jose Angel Hernandez agreed. He said many Arizona shops, business and factories employ Mexicans who send money back to relatives south of the border.

"I have family in Nogales, Arizona, and I have a lot of friends who live and work there, and they help Nogales, Sonora," Hernandez said in an interview with the AP. "That's why I worry that if the boycott is not directed correctly, it could harm our Mexican brothers who are there and are helping us."

But the Guardian reports that some are honoring the boycott.

Many Mexican citizens are refusing to go over. Lydia Medina, who works in one of the drug shops, said she does not cross any more. "Nobody I know is going over there," she said. When asked for her reaction to the law, she threw up her hands and shouted one word: "Racist!"

But many don't think it will have much of an effect, according to  The Guardian.

In Nogales, there is fierce anger at a measure that many see as naked racism. But there is also a stoic realisation that the law will not change the situation. It might make life more difficult for legal and illegal immigrants in America, it might humiliate and stoke fear, but it will do little to stop the flood of immigrants to the north where the lure of jobs and an escape from poverty are more powerful than the threat of discrimination.

While the boycott might not be effective, what has had an impact on businesses is a travel advisory issued last week by the Mexican government warning Mexican citizens that traveling to Arizona could be dangerous.

KOLD talked to workers in Nogales, Ariz., who said business has declined since the travel alert.

"Right now, they don't want to come anywhere. They feel like they're going to be seen different, treated different and we worry about that" one worker said.

One thing the law hasn't slowed is illegal crossers, if Nicasio Benitez is any indication.

Benitez, a deported worker staying at a shelter across the border, told the AP he'll try to cross back into the U.S. as soon as he can.

"I'll return to Arizona because I know a lot of people there, and I'll go where people will give me work, law or no law," said Benitez, who worked in landscaping there until he was deported last week. "You live under a lot of pressure in Arizona. You have a hard time finding a place to rent, being able to drive. But what you make in the U.S. in one day, you make it in Mexico in one week.

"Life there is awful, but I don't go to the U.S. because I like living there. I go because I like dollars."

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