Arizona to Spend $250K on Tourism PR Campaign

Arizona ACLU travel alert logoOn May 13, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer appointed a task force to address flagging tourism amid the backlash created by Arizona's strict new law on immigration enforcement. The task force recommended that Arizona undertake a public relations campaign to reassure potential visitors that Arizona is "a safe and welcoming destination," and promote the idea that boycotts against the state hurt "the most vulnerable employees." The task force also suggested Arizona try to "change the tone of the dialogue to reflect the true implications and tangible effects that boycotts have on the lives and families on the most vulnerable tourism employees." Brewer announced the state will pay $250,000 for the campaign, which could include getting editorials into national newspapers and conducting interviews in potential tourist markets. The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association will kick in another $30,000. The announcement about the new PR effort came just as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued travel alerts -- in English and Spanish -- informing people who visit Arizona of their rights, should they get stopped by law enforcement. Arizona's new law, SB 1070, requires officers to demand proof of citizenship from anyone they suspect may not in the U.S. legally. The legal director of Utah's ACLU affiliate, Darcy Goddard, issued a similar warning to Utahns traveling through Arizona. "We hope that Utah residents traveling in Arizona will be equipped with knowledge of their rights, so that should they encounter illegal harassment from law enforcement as a result of SB1070, they will be prepared," she said.


I read from the news that some immigrants were brutally harassed. If it is tourism they want to promote, then, I believe that the immigration law should be altered.

All i could say after reading this article is 'Wow'. In this information age, didn't these guys figure that having strict immigration laws for a country consisting of a large percentage of immigrants is definitely gonna have a huge backlash? sheesh.

On one hand I understand the reasoning behind the implementation of the immigration law. But on the other hand I'm not convinced this law is the way to do it. I think the federal goverment should try and get a handle on this and come up with a solution to an issue that's been bogged down for so long.

I guess these guys have realized too late that having strict immigration laws for a country consisting of a large percentage of immigrants is definitely gonna have a huge backlash. But can any amount of money and PR save a government blunder (again)?

I think the lawsuit is pure hypocrisy since federal law at the border is carried out in the same fashion (simply put). Just my two cents :) though i can understand why someone would be against it. I guess it kinda depends on your point of view.

The media, newspapers and other news outlets are completely misrepresenting the facts about the immigration law, along with the federal government. I say kudos to Arizona... it's about time something is done to stop illegal aliens. And, as far as the new law is concerned, no, they will not stop you without a cause. That's just ridiculous to think otherwise. Another prime example of how the media and federal government only read what they want to read and try to get people to see their point of view, which is wrong.

The fact is that most people never even have read the new law, including the President himself, so they're just assuming something that's not true. Tourists shouldn't be afraid to go to Arizona, and it's wrong for other states and the government to make people fear going there.

I completely agree with the arizona new law. If the Federal Govt does not enforce their own laws then the state will have to .

Arizona needs to fix it's attitude and immigration laws. A Media campaign is like putting a bandaid on a deep wound. I know this is a very difficult and sensitive issue- but hatred and us vs them will not get this solved. Somehow we all need to find a way to become kinder and more accepting.

The 'success' of Arizona's SB1070 has been the result of a masterful public relations campaign by HighGround Public Affairs Consultants. The owner of HighGround is Chuck Coughlin. Mr. Coughlin wears "many hats". In addition to being a lobbyist for private prisons/Corrections Corporation for America (CCA), he is also Governor Jan Brewer's chief policy advisor and campaign manager. In addition, he's the self-proclaimed #1 top GOP 'political operative' in Arizona. In this role, he effectively decides who will run for which races, who they will oppose - if anyone, and how they will win. He decides who will be intimidated and bullied into pulling out of races where he has personal investments at stake. He is very successful, in no small part due to his strategic manipulation and control of media. GOP candidates state in testimonials that they cannot expect to win without his "management" of their campaign and associated activities.

AZ State Senate President, Russell Pearce, credits Chuck Coughlin with his victories, as well as passage of several of Arizona's recent and strongly adverse legislation, including SB1070, as just one example. Coughlin's client list includes the largest and most influential corporate sponsors/lobbyists, and Arizona's most dubious characters and corrupt politicians, including Fife Symington, who was convicted of felony charges as governor and sentenced to time in the federal penitentiary.

Prior to release of ALEC documents by the Center for Media & Democracy, NPR conducted an undercover investigation of Pearce and Coughlin's role in making deals with CCA lobbyists to enlist ALEC in drafting of SB1070. This investigation was released in a 2-part series October 2010 -- less than a week before the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election. Coughlin effectively blocked media reports so most voters never had access to this information until now. The outcome went as planned: Jan Brewer became our governor. Probably the worst governor in our history, and we've had many, including several who've been recalled, impeached, and/or incarcerated.

SB1070 was never about immigration. It was formulated for the express purpose of creating "demand" for private prisons through the rounding up of detainees for profit. It required elaborate storytelling about headless bodies in the desert and assorted scare tactics that have separated neighbor from neighbor -- needlessly and heartlessly -- for political gain. What are we protecting ourselves from through enabling these immoral practices that have divided our state and our people?

No one has denied that we need to tighten our borders. However, illegal immigration has followed a consistently downhill trend over the past 20 years -- beginning years prior to concoction of this grievously deceptive bill. Should we tighten our borders? Yes. SB1070 does nothing to tighten our borders. Instead, it diverts massive state funds and limited resources toward division and destruction of our once beautiful state into one where citizens and yet-to be citizens live in media-fueled fear of reprisal -- not for state or national security, but for profit and political gain.

This is only one of several reasons that Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has been successfully recalled by Citizens for a Better Arizona. This is an historical first in Arizona. Pearce "represents" legislative district #18, decidedly one of the most conservative and strongly Republican districts in the state. Still, it is no surprise that Pearce's own GOP constituents, LDS Mormon church leaders, and the Chamber of Commerce, declared overwhelmingly that he is too extreme for them, and too extreme for Arizona. For this reason, Republicans, Democrats, Independants, Libertarians, etc. have spoken in one clear voice: they want him OUT. If there are doubts or misperceptions about the extent and magnitude of their outrage over his failed leadership, they'll make it abundantly clear on November 8.