Taking a hard line on immigration is costing Arizona in ways lawmakers may not have considered.
Several convention groups have boycotted Arizona because of its anti-immigration law, SB 1070, while the law has been a deterrent for others, the Arizona Republic reports. As a result, bookings at the Phoenix Convention Center are estimated to have plunged by one-third since 2009, costing $132 million in the most recent year alone. Meanwhile, bookings at similar convention centers in other states have stayed flat or risen.
While it is unclear how much money the anti-immigration law has cost the state since it was enacted in 2010, a report from that year by the Center for American Progress found that Arizona lost $141 million in tourism revenue because of economic boycotts protesting the anti-immigration law, which was passed in 2010.
The law has been a fierce source of contention. The anti-immigration law aims to eliminate undocumented immigration, with measures including authorizing police to ask people in Arizona for documents proving citizenship or immigration status. Because of that, it has faced legal challenges from civil rights groups and the Obama administration.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that Arizona can enforce the controversial provision allowing police to ask people for citizenship or immigration papers, which a U.S. District judge also upheld in September. The Supreme Court struck down other parts of the law, including its allowance of warrantless arrests, its making it a criminal offense for undocumented immigrants to seek work and its requirement for all immigrants to get or carry immigration papers.
(Hat tip: ThinkProgress.)