Congressman discourages tourism as mariachi conference starts - Tucson News Now

Congressman discourages tourism as mariachi conference starts

By J.D. Wallace - bio | email

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – People from a variety of states and even Mexico attend the Tucson International Mariachi Conference.

"I love music," said Maria Flores, who came to the conference from Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles.  But even her teacher Cande Ceballos knows about Arizona's immigration bill requiring law enforcement to verify people's status.

"I think it's very unfortunate just to go up to somebody I thought about this before I brought my students here because I was thinking what if one of them wanted to get to the store and this was enforced already," Ceballos said.

"We're asking organizations, civic, religious, labor, Latino organizations of color to refrain from using Arizona as a convention site," Congressman Raul Grijalva said on a cable news program.

He considered discouraging tourism in Arizona as economic sanctions for the bill.

"To refrain from spending their dollars in the state of Arizona until Arizona turns the clock forward instead of backwards," he said.

"Now you have to look over your shoulder, who's going to stop me now?" said conference president Tim Escobedo.  He also has concerns about the bill.  But Grijalva's statement caught him by surprise, since the conference brings about $3.7 million to Tucson.

"If they were to boycott us, yes, it would affect us tremendously," Escobedo said.

The Arizona Tourism Alliance shared those concerns with a statement from president and CEO Debbie Johnson that concluded:

"Continuing to pull tourism into these political battles only furthers our state's economic decline and hurts the hundreds of thousands of tourism associates who rely on visitors to support their families."

Even Cande Ceballos agreed with that.

"To tell people to stay away to me it's not a good idea.  People need to work here, people need to live here, people expense here," he said.

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