The Los Angeles City Council today joined the growing list of cities and organizations boycotting Arizona because of our new "papers please" legislation SB 1070. Well, kinda sorta.
According to LA Times reporter Phl Willon, the council voted to "ban most city travel to Arizona and future contracts with companies" here, but it stopped short of "canceling all of the city's $58 million worth of contracts with Arizona companies."
During the debate over the measure, Arizona's new immigration law was compared to Nazi Germany and the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. To which, I would say, if the city council felt that strongly about it, why weenie out of cancelling the city's current contracts with AZ?
Seems the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport didn't want to ax their ongoing business with Sand Land, therefore the council relented.
So if the port and the airport were doing business with Nazi Germany back in the day, the council would have similarly balked? I'm not saying the analogies are accurate. But if you're going to grandstand and say that they are, stand by your words.
Also, there was some serious misinformation being bandied about during the council session.
Councilman Ed Reyes is quoted as saying, "I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport. If I come across an officer who's having a bad day and feels that the picture on my ID is not me, I can be ... deported, no questions asked."
Problem is, that's hyperbole. If Reyes was stopped during the course of some investigation, and he didn't have certain ID on him, state law could have a local gendarme presuming that he's an unauthorized alien.
Reyes would likely be detained until the cops sort him out. That's bad enough, and would be a violation of his civil rights, particularly if the police officer's "reasonable suspicion" that he was in the country illegally was based on Reyes' ethnicity.
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But would he be deported? That's highly unlikely. There's too much that would have to happen between him being stopped and an actual deportation.
Such exaggerations cloud the issue and give ammo to those who support the law. A better argument for Reyes is that he could easily be a victim of racial profiling in Arizona under the new law. And if he didn't have the proper ID on him, he could end up being detained. That would be wrong and un-American, and it's enough of a reason to want to boycott AZ.
"A disturbing pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities and immigrants has been established with the adoption of an immigration law that may allow for police action targeting individuals on the basis of their perceived ethnic origin, and a law that suppresses school programs featuring the histories and cultures of ethnic minorities."
Regarding SB 1070 specifically, the U.N. folks said that,
"The law may lead to detaining and subjecting to interrogation persons primarily on the basis of their perceived ethnic characteristics...In Arizona, persons who appear to be of Mexican, Latin American, or indigenous origin are especially at risk of being targeted under the law."
The U.N.'s assessment is dispassionate and more accurate than Counciman Reyes' take on SB 1070. Maybe the U.N. can help kick off a worldwide embargo of Cactus Country. Who needs those foreign tourists anyway, eh?
Isn't Seattle supposed to be some bastion of liberalism, or somethin'? Apparently not to judge by the video above of a Hispanic male getting stomped on by Seattle cops, even though they eventually let him go, and he apparently had nothing to do with the incident they were investigating.
One of the boot-lovin' cops involved later apologized for saying, "I'm going to beat the Mexican piss out of you, homey! You feel me?"
"Homey"? What is this, an old episode of In Living Color?
And you thought Sheriff Joe was bad. Most of the stompings he's been sued for happened at least out of plain sight, although many of them were caught on tape with jail cameras.
Now watch the Seattle city council boycott Arizona as a CYA move. Don't even try. "Emerald City"? In a pig's eye.
Arizona, you finally have some place you can feel better than...for the moment.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.