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Boycott Mexico campaign targets illegal immigration issue

March 18, 2009 | 11:17 am

Hectic scene at U.S.-Mexico border.

The large bold letters scream, "BOYCOTT MEXICO!!'' and are followed by the plea, "Do not give your tourist dollars to Mexico! Spend them in the beautiful American Southwest!"

The Boycott Mexico campaign, by a group called Americans United to Halt Tourism in Mexico, is the last thing tourist destinations in Baja California and elsewhere in Mexico need, as they struggle with an image problem caused by an unrelenting drug war.

Campaign volunteers have been passing out fliers at the U.S.-Mexico border at San Ysidro and other points of entry. The group wants tourists to stop traveling into Mexico until the Mexican government complies with several demands related to the immigration issue.

"The AUHTM Campaign is designed to allow the American people to confront the Mexican people directly on these issues," it says on a campaign link. "The incompetence of the White House and U.S. Congress to do their jobs in this area is well known and leaves concerned and well-informed Americans few alternatives."

Reaction: This smacks of racism, and people in this country are free to travel wherever they wish. This campaign, which is requesting concerned citizens to print and distribute fliers and organize demonstrations, can only hurt businesses that have nothing to do with the illegal immigration issue and, in fact, employ Mexicans in Mexico.

But because it's a free country, those behind AUHTM, who obviously are frustrated and concerned about what they perceive as a major problem, are within their rights to call for a boycott.

As for the American Southwest, it is beautiful. But last time I checked you cannot catch a marlin there. Nor can you kayak with whales or scuba dive with giant Pacific mantas.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Hectic scene at U.S.-Mexico border. Credit: Associated Press