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Gov. Brewer wants panel to combat ‘mistruths’ on law

Supporters of immigration bill SB1070 shout during a rally at the Arizona Capitol prior to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signing the controversial bill into law Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, and would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Supporters of immigration bill SB1070 shout during a rally at the Arizona Capitol prior to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signing the controversial bill into law Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally, and would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday formed a task force of tourism officials and business leaders to help the state’s struggling tourism industry in the face of what she called “mistruths” about the state’s controversial new law targeting illegal immigration.

Brewer met privately with tourism industry leaders and later told reporters that she was forming a group of industry representatives and state officials to prepare a marketing strategy to deal with public criticism of the law.

The law, which is set to take effect late July, requires police to ask a person about his or her immigration status if there’s “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally. Being in the country illegally would a state crime under the law.

Critics have said the law could lead to racial profiling, and some groups and city governments have called for boycotts of Arizona and its businesses.

Brewer said those charges that the law will produce racial profiling are unfounded, and she noted that the law specifically prohibits racial profiling.

She also said people mistakenly believe that just anybody walking on a street could be asked to produce identification.

“The bottom line is there are a lot of mistruths about the bill,” she said. “You’re not going to walk down the street and get questioned unless you’ve committed a crime.”

Tourism industry representatives didn’t request changes in the law, said Brewer and Debbie Johnson, head of a statewide hotel association and of a statewide tourism industry coalition.

“There was no discussion of it,” Johnson said.

The state will provide startup funding of $250,000 for the marketing campaign, which will start by reviving a past effort to urge Arizonans to vacation in their own state, Johnson added.

Other details, including what messages to aim to non-Arizonans, haven’t been decided, Johnson said.

Brewer said she was concerned about the boycott calls, saying lost trade would harm the state, its tourism industry and “a lot of innocent people.”

“We want everyone to continue to come here,” she said.

Johnson, president of the Arizona and Lodging Association and president of the Arizona Tourism Alliance, said boycotts intended to pressure the state’s policymakers are misguided because they mainly hurt people working in the state’s tourism-related businesses.

“The concern is about the 200,000 families that are trying to make a living,” she said.

Brewer said the “truth-telling” task force would try to develop ways to “rebrand or reposition Arizona’s brand.”

5 comments

  1. “You’re not going to walk down the street and get questioned unless you’ve committed a crime” The word “crime” includes any state, municipal, and/or local civil infractions such as jaywalking, day at the park with family if you accidently threw the trash next to the garbage can and etc…

    “The bottom line is there are a lot of mistruths about the bill.” Governor Brewer apparently has a lot of faith in Sheriff Arapio to carry out the laws equally and fairly. After all, he is under investigation for abuse of power. Similarly, by comparative analogy, I am sure no one drives faster then the posted limited limit in Arizona just because the law said so.

    It is not surprising that Governor Brewer has already produced campaign videos involving SB 1070. Then she passed a bill banning ethic studies – a law that’s so broad which could invariably be interpreted to execlude Japanese invading Peal Harbour. I love AZ but I am sick to my stomach of what the beautiful state has become…

  2. I agree with Gov. Brewer and the new state law regarding illegal immigrants. The law is already in the books at the Federal level, but the FEDS will not enforce it because it’s not politically in their best interest. The state law that Gov. Brewer signed just gives the Arizona police the authority to do what is already authorized in the Federal law. Duh! As for having to show the police
    “your papers” if you are potentially suspected of breaking a law… traffic, civil, federal or otherwise… the police already do that now. When pulled over for a traffic violation, for example, the first thing the police ask is for license and registration… aka IDENTIFICATION! BTW… has anyone noticed what the penalty for sneaking into Mexico illegally is? Two years in prison for the first offense! If you want to come to America, great! Just do it legally… and LEARN THE LANGUAGE!

  3. Do you think that Obama will enforce the “healthcare” law with the same vigor that he has enforced immigration? Absolutely not! Countries have protested and yet, if all of these ‘bleeding hearts’ would stop to find out the penalties for illegal entry into their country, just maybe they would look at S.B. 1070 in a different light. Here in North Carolina, we have almost as many illegals as Arizona and I am pushing for a similar law here. I salute Gov. Brewer for her insight and backbone and also Mrs. Palin for her wisdomn and for standing for the law and upon the Constitution.

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