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Immigrant rights group threatens boycott over possible Arizona legislation

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PHOENIX — An immigrants right group is threatening to reinstate a boycott against Arizona if some controversial new legislation is signed into law.

Members of Somos America delivered a petition to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office Wednesday pleading him to veto several bills. The group said the legislation is littered with anti-illegal immigrant racism and bigotry.

“It is the persistence of extremist opinions that hold sway in the state legislature,” Somos America President Roberto Reveles said.

Of the most concern to the group is Senate Bill 1377, which would require illegal immigrants convicted of certain crimes to serve the entire length of their prison sentence without the chance of parole.

Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, sponsored the bill that would essentially make it impossible for immigrants in the country illegally to receive any leniency in the courts when they commit serious crimes.

Smith said the bill came in response to a case from last year in which an immigrant who entered the country illegally and was out on bail for a separate crime shot and killed a 21-year-old convenience store employee over a pack of cigarettes.

“It’s a good first step in the right direction of protecting families like his,” Smith said, referring to the victim’s father, who was in attendance for the vote.

Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, opposed the measure, saying it unfairly targets a specific group of people.

“To single out this one particular situation, what we are doing is making a political point,” he said. “We are grandstanding here.”

If that bill and several others are signed into law, Somos America would reinstate a nationwide boycott of Arizona. The group first boycotted the state when SB 1070 was signed into law.

“The passage and signing of these bigoted proposals would be an unforgivably shortsighted affront to the best interest of Arizonans by triggering the resumption of the nationwide Boycott Arizona Campaign,” Reveles said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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