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The Gadling released a story today entitled “Immigration law costs Arizona hotels a bundle” where the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association believes that tourists have cut back on their visits to the state because of its immigration law.

Their assertion couldn’t be further from the truth because it’s not Arizona’s immigration law that has prospective tourists making other plans.  It’s the violence spilling into the U.S. from Mexico’s drug wars that are to blame.

According  to a Los Angeles Times article, “Mexico Under Seige, more than 28,000 Mexican citizens have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since the start of 2007, shortly after Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug traffickers.  That’s more than the U.S. fatalities in the Iraq war.  There have been 45,000 Mexican troops and  5,000 federal police deployed to 18 states where trafficking groups are fighting local authorities and battling for access to the U.S. market.

Illegal immigration and drug smuggling have always been issues in this border state, but warring Mexican cartels are carrying violence to levels that have shocked law enforcement and government officials.  Arizona State Senator Jonathan Paton told the AFP that “It’s definitely being ramped up beyond anything we’ve ever seen before” and Senator John McCain asserts that this sort of violence is “a threat to our national security.”

Last week Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer filed an appeal to a judge’s ruling in favor of a Department of Justice petition to stop an Arizona immigration law that would have allowed state and local police to request visa papers from individuals stopped for questioning on other matters.

Nearly a dozen states filed a legal brief Friday in support of that law, arguing that the judge erred in ruling that the law interferes with the executive branch’s immigration enforcement priorities.

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

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