Mexico Tourism Ad Draws Ire from Arizona Officials

Rocky Point, Sonora; Moody75

In a bizarre twist, Arizona's controversial new immigration law, which has sparked a furor of tourism boycotts from cities and organizations across the country, has inspired a satirical ad for tourism to the bordering Mexican state of Sonora that has Arizona officials demanding an apology.

The half-page advertisement, which ran in a Phoenix newspaper on Friday, featured a military man in camouflage looking through binoculars with the tagline "In Sonora, we're looking for people from Arizona," a veiled reference to the Arizona's new law that allows police to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant. A later version of the newspaper ad added "who want to have a great time" and included pictures of vacationers on a Sonora beach in the reflection of the binocular lens.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, head of law enforcement in Phoenix's Maricopa County, did not take the advertisement lightly and is demanding an apology from Mexican tourism officials for what he perceives to be a "threatening" ad campaign. Arpaio even called for Arizonans to avoid traveling to Mexico, saying the advertisement "went well beyond being irresponsible, it appears to threaten Arizonans."

Sonora Turismo, the Mexican tourism agency responsible for the binocular ad, said that the advertisement was intended to draw Arizona tourists to the Mexican state of Sonora, which is known for vacation hotspots like Rocky Point. Javier Tapia, a spokesperson for the tourism agency, asserted Monday that the ad wasn't meant to be frightening.

"[Sonora] is very interested in people from Arizona coming to have a great time," Tapia told the Associated Press. "We don't want to scare anyone. We are very friendly."
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