#ALERT: SLATE: "Boycott Miami" Payback's a BITCH #mayorgimenez

SLATE: "Boycott Miami"

And every other spring-break destination that aids the Trump administration’s deportation plans.


By Catesby Holmes
Photo From MIAMI NEW TIMES 

There’s nothing like Miami during spring break: the sun, the sea, the clubs, the asinine fealty to federal deportation policies that are not only inhumane but are also, many police chiefs agree, bad for public safety.

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So what can concerned Americans do about this? Simple: They can boycott Miami—and vacation elsewhere.

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Miami-Dade’s mayor doesn’t think those concerns are worth paying a federal fine. “I want to make sure we don’t put in jeopardy the [$355 million] of funds we get from the federal government for a $52,000 issue,” said Giménez, who is a Republican, in the Miami Herald, weighing federal grants’ value against the cost of locking up immigrants for the feds to come get them. Miami-Dade, whose population is 51 percent foreign-born, sold out its undocumented residents for some spare change.

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The average Miami visitor lays out $1,600 per trip, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. If only 221,876 people made alternate travel plans this year, Miami would lose more in traveler dollars than it collects in federal grants.  

We know place-based boycotts can influence local policy.

We know that national place-based boycotts can influence local policy. Last year North Carolina alienated companies, musicians, and sports leagues with its discriminatory anti-trans bathroom law, seeing some $500 million in anticipated revenue disappear. Those losses compelled citizens and the business community to push for the law to be overturned (though a recalcitrant legislature has since suspended that process).

How much would it cost for mayor Giménez to get the message? $400 million—or 250,000 no-shows out of an annual 15.5 million visitors? $800 million? Tourists have the power to make it more expensive for cities to forsake undocumented residents than to shield them.

They can also do something more painful. Lost income is only one reason such efforts succeed. Boycotts damage brands—not irrevocably but deeply while they last. And Miami, much more so than North Carolina, is a brand.

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Boycotting Miami and other locales that comply with federal detainer requests won’t be enough. But if mayors like Giménez are calculating their stances on immigration enforcement in financial terms, they ought to experience financial consequences. And the Americans best positioned to deliver that lesson are spring-breakers.

So go to the beach next week—just don’t go to Miami.



Catesby Holmes is the global commissioning editor at the Conversation, a freelance journalist, and former travel editor.


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