Musicians Boycott Arizona to Protest Immigration Law

Hundreds of protesters rally at the Capitol to protest the possible signing of immigration bill SB1070 by Gov. Jan Brewer Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. AP

Kanye West
AP Photo/FOX, Ray Mickshaw

A group of popular musicians is jumping into the debate over Arizona's controversial new immigration law, joining a movement to boycott the state in protest of the measure.

Musical acts like Cypress Hill, Kanye West, Sonic Youth, Joe Satriani and others have signed onto the Sound Strike, a commitment to boycott performances in Arizona, organized by Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha.

"Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music they listen to," de la Rocha wrote in a press release announcing the strike. "We are asking artists the world over to stand with us, and not allow our collective economic power to be used to aid and abet civil and human rights violations that will be caused by Arizona's odious law."

The Arizona measure, which was signed into law last month and goes into effect in July, requires immigrants in Arizona to carry documents verifying their immigration status. It also requires police officers to question a person about his or her immigration status during a "lawful stop" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person may be in the country illegally.

Opponents of the law say it could lead to racial profiling, and many others are also advocating boycotts of the state as a form of protest. A number of municipalities have moved to cut their economic ties with Arizona, and some say professional sports leagues should do the same.

The group of musicians who have joined the Sound Strike include some Latino performers, such as Los Tigres del Norte, a band from Mexico, and Colombian singer Juanes. Colombian singer Shakira has also spoken out against the law.

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