Cities boycott Arizona
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved a motion to end business with Arizona in response to the immigration law passed by the state in April that requires police officers to obtain proof of residency from people they suspect are in the country illegally. The move followed San Francisco’s implementation of a moratorium on city employees traveling to Arizona on official business as the city considers its own boycott.
The Los Angeles resolution calls for the city and all of its departments to immediately suspend travel to Arizona to conduct city business, directs city departments to refrain from entering into any new or amended contracts to purchase goods or services from any company that is headquartered in Arizona, and instructs the City Administrative Officer to identify which contracts can be terminated immediately. The proposal could affect a portion of the city’s more than $56 million in contracts with Arizona-based companies. “Los Angeles is the second largest city in this country, an immigrant city, an international city. It needs to have its voice heard,” said Councilmember Ed Reyes, who co-sponsored the boycott with Councilmember Janice Hahn. “As an American, I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport. As an American, I am offended that I can’t feel comfortable traveling in my country without fear of falling victim to racial profiling. Whatever one’s feeling might be about the undocumented, no American should ever have to feel that threat.”
On April 27, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom imposed an immediate moratorium on city employee travel to Arizona for official business, with exceptions for essential travel related to law enforcement, public health or safety. Newsom also announced the convening of an Arizona Boycott Workgroup, to be chaired by his chief of staff, to analyze the effects and extent of an Arizona boycott on city contracts and purchasing and make recommendations for an Arizona boycott. “We stand together as San Franciscans and Californians in condemning Arizona’s punitive anti-immigrant law, and we are united in our determination to see the law repealed in Arizona and comprehensive federal immigration reform passed in Washington,” Newsom said. “By imposing an immediate moratorium on official city travel to Arizona and convening the workgroup, we are taking specific actions to develop a smart and effective boycott that sends the appropriate message to Arizona while protecting the city’s financial interests.”
Newsom also sent a letter to President Obama urging him to advance comprehensive federal immigration reform in the wake of the Arizona law’s passage. “Recently, we saw Arizona’s misguided attempts to address immigration on its own,” wrote Newsom. “Our system is broken, and only the federal government can enact meaningful, practical and compassionate reform.” San Diego, Washington, Boston and other cities also have called for or considered Arizona boycotts.