This weekend, tea party activists gathered in Arizona to express support for the state’s new immigration law, SB-1070, by launching a “buycott” campaign to support state businesses. Tony Venuti, publisher of AZ Tourist News, has spearheaded the “Arizona Buycott” webpage which lists the businesses which want their support of SB-1070 to be documented. The front page of the website features a video in which Venuti lays out his own immigration views. Venuti states that the criminals, or “bad hombres,” need to get their “butts out of town.” According Venuti, by “ID-ing” everyone, the “illegal criminals” will “disappear like cockroaches”:
Let me tell you something, there’s gonna be procession down into the border South when you see a lot of illegal criminals knowing they are going to be compelled to be ID’d or thrown in jail, you’re gonna see them disappear back south like a bunch of cockroaches. Trust me. The other ones that are here, we’re gonna have to deal with them and I don’t know how that’s going to be dealt with. We don’t need to worry about that now.
Today, the Arizona Republic reported that “the exodus of illegal and legal immigrants predicted by some as a result of Arizona’s tough new immigration law is expected to hurt a variety of businesses that directly and indirectly cater to immigrant populations.” If all of Arizona’s undocumented immigrants “disappeared,” the state could lose $26.4 billion in economic activity, $11.7 billion in gross state product, and approximately 140,324 jobs.
Rather than worrying about the economic effects of the law itself, Tea Party Nation launched the separate “National Arizona BUYcott” campaign last month at the Winning Back America Conference, which was headlined by Liz Cheney, Fred Thompson, and Sarah Palin. Gina Loudon, the St. Louis tea party supporter who credits herself with coming up the buycott idea, has said “the goal is to render boycotts ineffective.”
Loudon has high hopes. The personal financing website, mint.com, has estimated that Arizona’s fragile tourism industry has already lost $6–10 million in cancellations since the bill was signed into law. Phoenix alone stands to lose as much as $90 million as a result of boycotts. Democratic Diva’s Donna Gratehouse attended the buycott rally in Arizona this weekend and found that none of the big companies listed on Loudon’s website were present at the pro-SB 1070 “buycott” at Tempe’s Diablo Stadium except for Tempe’s Xtreme Bean Coffee. Venuti’s website so far lists only 16 business — one of which is his own.