Immigration activists have asked the Mexican national soccer team to boycott their Jan. 30 matchup vs. Denmark at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
"The Mexican soccer team is coming down to play in the apartheid state of Arizona," says Salvador Reza, 61, an organizer for TonaTierra for 20 years who works with its Barrio Defense Committees engaging with families on problems they face from authorities. "Where anybody who looks brown is suspect and officers would even stop them if they saw them driving. For them to come here and leave millions of dollars to the state of Arizona in taxes and revenue is a disservice to the community they represent."
According to NBC Latino, however, the Mexican Soccer Federation said it is crucial for the team to participate in order to showcase its support an Arizona fan base that has not seen Mexico's squad in the stadium since defeating Guadeloupe in a 2009 Gold Cup doubleheader.
"For the Mexican Soccer Federation it's important that the Mexican team be present in any state in the United States, so we can give fans who always support us a great show, and we're certain many fans will be with us for the game," it wrote in Spanish.
Reza noted that the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, along with its partners, is one of the few organizations still supporting the TonaTierra's boycott of Arizona regarding its treatment of the Latino community. Extending beyond this impending game, a Saturday rally is scheduled to begin at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, transition to the stadium and end at the Glendale Police Department. Regardless, Reza added that he hopes the Mexican national team will offer its support of the community.
"We would love for them not to come or to do a form of protest in solidarity with the community," Reza says. "We're talking about a high level here — they're one of the best teams in the world. But we have a problem with them leaving millions of dollars in the coffers of Arizona."