Mexico issues travel warning

Tells citizens to skip state due to immigrant measure; binational forum canceled
2010-04-28T00:00:00Z Mexico issues travel warningMariana Alvarado and Phil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Mexican government is urging U.S.-bound shoppers to avoid Arizona or prepare for unprovoked harassment by police.

The governor of Sonora has called off the binational Arizona-Mexico Commission meeting - suspending the tourism and trade meeting for the first time in 50 years - as federal politicians urged him to interrupt partnerships with Arizona.

And at least one Mexican airline, Aeromexico, will cancel flights to Phoenix, claiming demand is down because of Arizona's new immigration law. Some nonprofit organizations and community leaders in Nogales and Hermosillo, Sonora, joined the call for an economic boycott of the state.

Issued on Tuesday morning by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, the travel warning says "there is a negative political environment for migrant communities and for all Mexican visitors."

The warning also says no criteria has been established for when, where and who the authorities will inspect.

"It must be assumed that every Mexican citizen may be harassed and questioned without further cause at any time," the warning reads.

Guillermo Noriega with Sonora Ciudadana A.C., a nonprofit in Hermosillo, said social networks are being used to get people to stop visiting Arizona.

"It's not worth it if there's no respect for the basic values," he said. "We don't have to go and leave our money there."

It is not just Mexicans who intend to avoid Arizona.

Will Conroy, president of Tucson's Arizona Inn, said he's received notice from about 20 repeat visitors from out-of-state who said they won't be making their regular trips to Tucson since the governor signed the bill into law.

One guest, Joy Mann, said she and her husband, who live in Idaho, decided not to take their road trip to Arizona.

"We cannot come to Arizona. I am of Mediterranean heritage and am very concerned," Mann wrote Conroy in an e-mail. "Of course, I don't carry papers that indicate that I am an American citizen as I was born here."

Loews Ventana Canyon and the Westin La Paloma reported no cancellations related to the legislation.

Mikel Mesh of Hawaii said he canceled his summer road trip through the state.

"We are not Hispanic but find these Draconian measures at odds with the values upon which our country was founded," Mesh, a resident of Hawaii, wrote the Star. "We shall be spending our vacation dollars elsewhere."

Former Tucsonan Scott Stewart, who now lives in Telluride, Colo., said he's canceling his Arizona Wildcats football season tickets in response to the legislation.

"In the past I have made most of the Arizona football games, staying for a couple of days at a clip and spending approximately $2,500 a season, which goes towards economic impact in Arizona," he wrote to the Star. "So supporting Arizona athletics would economically help support the state of Arizona, a state that has just legalized racial profiling - something totally against my values."

Demonstrations against Senate Bill 1070 have sprung up at the state Capitol, as well as at U.S. consulates in Mexico.

"We are asking people not to cross the border, not to buy anything, so they (the U.S.) realize they need us," said Ramses Arturo Leyva, one of the organizers and a radio announcer in Nogales, Sonora.

As part of the boycott, Leyva said pamphlets will be distributed at the border asking people not to cross. The digital billboards flashing at the border with advertisement for shoppers and tourists waiting in line to enter Arizona are soon expected to start promoting the boycott, he said.

"Xenophobic law"

Mexican politicians have urged Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés Elías to avoid commercial and tourist ties with Arizona.

"The only way to withdraw this racist and xenophobic law is by applying economic and financial pressure to the government and Legislature of Arizona," said Domingo Rodríguez from the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, a political party in Mexico.

Gov. Padrés canceled the Arizona-Mexico Commission event - planned for June 3-4 at Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa in Litchfield Park - as a symbolic protest.

On the Arizona-Mexico Commission's website, the event was billed as "Two leaders, shared vision," with pictures of Brewer and Padrés clapping side-by-side. The commission, formed in 1959, brings business and political leaders together from the border states to enhance binational trade and foster relationships between the public and private sectors.

Each day, more than 65,000 Mexican residents are in Arizona to work, visit friends and relatives and shop, according to a University of Arizona study sponsored by the Arizona Office of Tourism.

While here, Mexican visitors spend more than $7.35 million daily in Arizona's stores, restaurants, hotels and other businesses, researchers found.

Star reporter Brady McCombs contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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