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Log In / Register | Apr 19, 2014

Hoteliers Say Don’t Boycott Arizona

ATLANTA—In response to nationwide calls to boycott Arizona and its companies because the state recently enacted a controversial law that permits local police to demand residency proof for individuals who they suspect of being unlawfully here, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) has come out in opposition to the new law, Arizona's SB1070 (pdf).

Crowds outside the White House protest Arizona's
Protesters in front of White House oppose new AZ immigration law /Arasmus

Protests against the state law broke out throughout most major U.S. cities. The phrase "Arizona boycott" has become among the eleven most popular Twitter subjects and it is one of the top Google searches. Those threats of avoiding trips to Arizona and of boycotting chains that are based there put franchisees and their investments at risk.

Representing 40 percent of the lodging properties in the state, AAHOA asks in a public letter signed by its board and president for a more just law. "We need fair immigration laws that will protect the rights of all citizens, including those who have legally immigrated to the United States," declared Ash Patel, last year's chair of the association and an Arizona hotel owner. The letter pleads with tourists and advocacy groups not to snub the Grand Canyon State. "A boycott of Arizona will harm the lodging industry and the employees who depend on traveling guests for their next paychecks, but it will not solve any immigration problems," said AAHOA Chairman Tarun S. Patel.

Arizona-based hotel franchisor Best Western told CNBC, "Punishing a hotel and tourism industry that prides itself on treating all of its guests and employees with dignity and respect is an irrational, unfair reaction that fails to properly address the real issue. We believe in the democratic processes that are the foundation of our country, and have faith that they should be trusted to, and will, properly resolve the difficult issue of immigration reform in America."

Another Arizona-based franchisor, Cold Stone Creamery, explained to Fox TV in El Paso, Texas that their ice cream shops are franchises, and that boycotting the stores would hurt local small business owners and the boycotters' own community.

Click here to read AAHOA's press release.


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