May 4th, 2010
10:56 AM ET

Arizona law foes' best weapon is dollars

Julian Zelizer
Special to CNN

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/05/04/zelizer.boycott.arizona/tzleft.julian.zelizer.jroemer.jpg caption="Zelizer: Economic boycott has often been a powerful tool in the struggle for social rights" width=300 height=169]

In response to Arizona's law cracking down on illegal immigration, pro-immigration and Hispanic organizations have launched a national protest campaign.

Protests took place in more than 90 cities on Saturday to remind politicians of the size of the immigrant community. Jorge-Mario Cabrera from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, California, told reporters: "If Republicans and Democrats do not take care of this albatross around our necks, this will in fact be the undoing of many, many years of civil rights struggle in this country." In his city, more than 60,000 people turned out for a downtown rally.

While Republicans and Democrats have been panicking about the backlash they could face if they supported liberalized immigration policies, it is becoming clear that they didn't pay enough attention to what the costs of these positions could be for their party and the states they represent.

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Filed under: Immigration
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