Board OKs boycott
Troy Anderson and Connie Llanos, Staff Writers
Created: 06/01/2010 10:04:13 PM PDT
Two Los Angeles governing boards Tuesday joined a list of cities, counties and community groups that have slammed Arizona’s tough new immigration law.
In a split vote along party lines, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to suspend all travel to Arizona for county business unless the travel is considered imperative; ban county investments in Arizona securities; and review all contracts with Arizona-based companies and report on how those contracts can be terminated.
The county does some $27 million in business with Arizona, but it wasn’t clear how much would be affected.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Unified school board unanimously adopted a resolution that condemns the Arizona law and asks district officials to look at ways of eliminating or reducing business ventures with the state.
Calling the law a blatant civil-rights violation, the district’s resolution asks that it also be discussed with students in civics and history classes “in the context of unity, diversity and equal protection for all.”
Although the school district’s resolution could lead to a boycott, the supervisors’ boycott will have a more immediate effect on Arizona business.
“I want to send a very strong message to Arizona,” Board Chairwoman Gloria Molina said. “Right now, Los Angeles County is spending $27 million a year on professional services, vendors and goods purchased from Arizona. It’s a sizable amount of money, and we’re joining with
other jurisdictions that are part of this economic boycott in taking a strong stand.
“I also think it’s important to send a message to Washington, D.C., that they must undertake immigration reform.”
Molina, Zev Yaroslavsky and Mark Ridley-Thomas – all Democrats – voted for the boycott. Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe – both Republicans – voted against the boycott.
The supervisors’ vote came after several hours of passionate testimony from both sides of the issue.
Among those in attendance were relatives of Jamiel Shaw II, a high school football star who was shot to death in Arlington Heights in 2008. Pedro Espinoza, an illegal immigrant and alleged gang member, has been charged with the killing and is awaiting trial.
Jamiel Shaw, the teen’s father, asked the supervisors why they aren’t boycotting “murder and illegal aliens coming into our country and killing our kids.
“My son is dead, and it’s because of the policies of sanctuary cities like Los Angeles that don’t care about how an average Joe Blow walks from his bus stop to his house and gets shot dead. You are strictly for illegal aliens. We need people to stand up for America.”
Shaw later grew so emotional that he had to leave the board room.
In addition to the boycott measures, the motion by Molina and Yaroslavsky asks CEO Bill Fujioka to send a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and key state and congressional leaders calling for the indefinite suspension or immediate repeal of the law, known as Senate Bill 1070.
The law, which has not yet gone into effect, gives law enforcement officers in Arizona the power to check the immigration status of suspects they have stopped for other reasons if there is a reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally. The law bars racial profiling.
But the motion by Molina and Yaroslavsky argues the law violates core American civil rights and liberties by “singling out identifiable groups of people for harassment, intimidation and potential arrest solely on the basis of the color of their skin, race, ethnicity, speech or cultural attributes.”
In the motion, the supervisors wrote law enforcement officials in Arizona and elsewhere believe the law will cause widespread racial profiling and will subject many
“foreign-looking” people and minorities – including U.S. citizens, legal residents, visiting business people and tourists – to unlawful interrogations, searches, seizures and arrests.
Antonovich said “legal immigration is the lifeblood of our nation” and the boycott will only hurt the county financially at a time when it is facing dramatic budget cuts.
Antonovich also said Arizona’s law simply follows federal laws and that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled several years ago that asking about someone’s immigration status does not violate the Fourth Amendment.
“Arizona is faced with a terrible criminal issue,” Antonovich said.
“Arizona is now the kidnapping capital of the U.S. and has the second largest kidnapping problem in the world.”
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