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Immigration debate: To boycott ... or not

Posted By Drew Zahn On 05/04/2010 @ 9:22 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


Cold Stone Creamery, an Arizona-based company

Across the Internet, advocates on both sides of Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement legislation are drafting lists of the state’s businesses and asking their supporters to either boycott the companies to pressure the state into repealing the law or “buycott” them to show support for Arizona’s bold move.

Politicians as far away as San Francisco, Milwaukee and Boston have joined in the fray, demanding their respective cities and states cancel contracts with Arizona companies and redirect conferences elsewhere. Major League Baseball is under pressure to strip the state of hosting its All-Star Game.

On the flip side, several tea party and Facebook groups have jumped in to organize “buycotts,” encouraging supporters of Arizona’s efforts to travel to The Grand Canyon State and patronize its businesses.

Tennessee syndicated radio host Steve Gill announced, “We’re going to go out to Cold Stone Creamery and dish out some free samples to local listeners and let them buy some Arizona ice cream as part of our ‘buycott’ to support Arizona.”

Tell Washington what you think about illegal immigration by sending every member of the Senate “The No Amnesty Pledge.”

WND columnist and fellow radio host Roger Hedgecock has even called the GOP to immediately award the 2012 Republican National Convention to Phoenix, Ariz.

“In the absence of federal government willingness to enforce the law at the border, the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer have acted bravely to defend Arizonans against an increasingly bold, violent invasion of Arizona by illegal aliens by enacting a law which requires local law enforcement officers during the course of a ‘lawful stop, detention or arrest’ to ask for proof of citizenship or legal immigration status. Those without documentation are then turned over to federal authorities for deportation,” Hedgecock writes. “This brave action by the state of Arizona is an opportunity for the Republican Party to show it is worthy to lead the country in a revival of America as a land of opportunity for every citizen and for every legal immigrant.”

But before banning a soft drink or booking a hotel room as a political statement, activists should make sure their lists are accurate.

Already calls have gone out to boycott AriZona iced tea drinks, which are actually made by a New York company, and to support Circle K convenience stores, which only have a branch office in Arizona and are actually owned by a Canadian firm. Other businesses, such as Ramada Hotels and the Greyhound bus line, have also been falsely labeled as Arizona companies.

WND has been able to confirm the following nationally known businesses are actually based in Arizona or owned by corporations headquartered there:

  • Best Western International, nationwide hotel chain
  • Cavco Industries, one of the largest producers of manufactured housing and cabin vacation homes in the U.S.
  • CSK Auto, which operates Checker Auto Parts, Schuck’s Auto Supply, Kragen Auto Parts and Murray’s Discount Auto Stores
  • Dial Corporation, makers of personal and household cleaners including Dial, Purex, Renuzit, Right Guard, Coast, Zout, Tone, Pure & Natural, Trend, 20 Mule Team, Boraxo, Soft Scrub and Combat brands
  • Discount Tire, the self-described world’s largest tire and wheel retailer
  • Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, the self-described world’s leading guitar manufacturer
  • GoDaddy.com, an Internet domains and website company
  • Kahala Corporation, owner of restaurant franchises Blimpie, Cereality, Cold Stone Creamery, Frulatti Café & Bakery, Great Steak, Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria, NrGize Lifestyle Cafe, Ranch*1, Rollerz, Samurai Sam’s, Surf City Squeeze and TacoTime
  • Harkins Theatres, the sixth largest movie-theater chain in North America
  • Kona Grill, nationwide restaurant chain
  • Knight Transportation, a trucking company
  • Lifelock, an identity-theft protection company
  • Massage Envy, a massage therapy company with clinics in 42 states
  • P.F. Chang’s, a nationwide Chinese restaurant chain
  • Ping, a leading maker of golf clubs and products
  • PetSmart, a pet-products megastore chain
  • Services Group of America, a corporation specializing in the foodservice industry and restaurant supply, owner of Food Services of America, Systems Services of America, Inc., Amerifresh, which manages the Snoboy produce brand, Ameristar Meats, Inc., Development Services of America and Event Services of America
  • SkyMall, a direct marketer whose catalogs are often found on airplanes
  • Swift Transportation Co., a trucking company
  • U-Haul, moving truck rentals
  • University of Phoenix, online adult education
  • US Airways, the nation’s sixth-largest airline, based on total traffic.

The state’s leading export category is computers and electronic products, and several major suppliers call Arizona home, including Insight Enterprises, Inc., Microchip Technology, Inc., ON Semiconductor, SUMCO Phoenix Corporation and electronics wholesaler Avnet.

Several professional and semi-pro athletics teams are also based in Arizona, including the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix Suns and the Cactus League of minor league baseball.

Dozens of power and utility companies are headquartered in Arizona, as are many medical businesses, some with a nationwide reach, such as TriWest Healthcare Alliance – which is contracted by the Department of Defense to administer the TRICARE health-care system for active duty and retired military members, their family and survivors – Schaller Anderson, Inc., which manages Medicaid for more than one million people in 11 states, and Cosmopolitan Medical Communications, a medical answering service.

One of the biggest areas that will be impacted by boycotts and buycotts, however, will be tourism, as activists on both sides are urging people to cancel or schedule vacations in Arizona. Tourism is the state’s second-largest export industry, employing over 165,000 Arizonans and making an $18.5-billion impact on the state’s economy.

“There are many ways for real people to support the BUYcott” said Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, a supporter of the Arizona law. “If my family has a vacation this year, I am thinking the Grand Canyon, where I worked as a youth, might just be the perfect getaway. The national parks in Arizona are spectacular, too.”

Those wishing to boycott, on the other hand, may want to heed the warnings of some Arizonans worried that boycotts targeted at helping Hispanics may actually create casualties of friendly fire. Arizona has higher rate of Hispanic-owned businesses (9.2 percent) than the national average (6.8 percent), and in many cases, the fate of Arizona border towns is intrinsically tied to their neighbors in Mexico.

Nogales, for example, is a city with an international border running through it, dividing Nogales, Ariz., from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Jose Angel Hernandez is mayor of the southern half of the city, and he told the Associated Press many Arizona shops, businesses 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. “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.”



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