Economic boycott planned next in push for immigration reform

Arizona Republic/Daniel Gonzalez and Yvonne Wingett/[[April 12, 2006]]// link

Organizers in Phoenix and several other cities are ramping up plans to stage a nationwide economic boycott on May 1,hoping to ride the momentum of Monday's massive demonstrations in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

The organizers want supporters to stay home from work and school and spend no money May 1 in an effort to call attention to the economic contributions of undocumented immigrants.

...Leaders of the coalition behind Monday's Somos America march plan to meet today to discuss their next steps. They said they have not had time to begin planning for the boycott, but some organizers said they would participate.

"We will undoubtedly be involved, but we haven't made any arrangements yet," said Roberto Reveles, a member of the coalition that organized Monday's march and rally.

...Elias Bermudez, president of the Phoenix group, Immigrants Without Borders, said the boycott is intended to demonstrate that undocumented immigrants are an integral part of the economy and they deserve to earn legal status.

Immigrant-rights advocates are planning boycotts in several cities nationwide, but so far the boycotts are not as well coordinated as the April 10 demonstrations, said Germonique Jones, spokeswoman for the Center for Community Change in Washington, D.C., an immigrant rights group.

"By then, we will be able to see whether the Senate has reached a compromise on immigration reform," said Marissa Graciosa, spokeswoman for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Amelia Frank-Vitale, a labor union organizer with Unite Here, predicts many Valley restaurants and hotels will be hit hard by the May 1 boycott, considering the impact of Monday's march and rally, which forced many restaurants, businesses, and construction sites to close or slow production for the day...