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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | September 13, 2011

The National Council of La Raza, one of the country's largest Hispanic advocacy groups, has called off its 16-month boycott of Arizona, which was initiated to protest the state's controversal SB1070 immigration law. La Raza announced the decision last Friday in a letter to the Real Arizona Coalition, a diverse collection of businesses, interfaith groups and community leadership organizations, including the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau; Real Arizona had asked for the boycott to be lifted. In the letter, La Raza stated: "We understand and appreciate the reasons why you believe the boycott should end. In that vein, we are also aware of the hardship it has imposed on many of the workers, businesses and organizations whose interests we seek to advance. We are hopeful that the more respectful and civil tone that you and many others have worked so hard to establish in recent months will continue. In that spirit, effective immediately, our three organizations will suspend the boycott and cease all efforts to discourage conventions or meetings in Arizona, or to discourage our partners from participating in such meetings. In addition, we will communicate our decision to our allies and partners who supported the boycott in the hope that they will join us." In response to La Raza's decision, the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau issued a statement that said, "The lifting of the boycott is clearly a step in the right direction. It acknowledges that illegal immigration is not just an Arizona issue but a national one, and it makes it easier for our community to get back to the business of booking conventions."