Boycotting Arizona

Anti-immigrant fervor could be more costly than Arizona lawmakers expected. Thanks to SB 1070, a new law that requires immigrants to carry papers at all times to prove their legal status, the state has become the focal point of the national immigration debate. The bill and the buzz surrounding it illustrates a desperate need for a federal fix to the broken immigration system.

President Barack Obama publicly condemned the measure shortly before Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the bill on April 23, while human rights groups and immigration reform supporters are threatening national boycotts and lawsuits.

SB 1070 makes it possible for local police to racially profile Latinos by allowing them to check a person’s immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they might be undocumented. It elicits memories of South Africa under apartheid, when blacks were forced to carry passbooks or otherwise risk incarceration. For a good historical perspective of immigration in Arizona, check out Jessica Pieklo’s blog for Care2.

Hidden costs

Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, joins many bloggers and immigrant rights supporters in calling for a boycott. “Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva is urging a boycott of his own state. San Francisco has already announced its intentions to boycott Arizona,” Rothschild writes. “The response from the Latino community has been instant and outraged. And the upcoming May Day rallies are sure to be huge.”

If threats to boycott simmer down, lawsuits could overturn the bill. At RaceWire, Julianne Hing writes that “Legal challenges to Arizona’s [new immigration law] are coming from all sides. Both the [American Civil Liberties Union] and [the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund] are planning legal action.”

Hing adds that “Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon announced on Friday that his city would bring a lawsuit against [the law]” and that he is joined by “Sara Presler, the mayor of Flagstaff, whose city is exploring its legal options as well.”

Arizona will need to amp up its law enforcement arm to put the bill in action. That won’t be cheap—the state budget is facing a $2 billion shortfall. As William Fisher reports at the Inter Press Service, “In one Arizona county alone, Yuma County, the sheriff estimates that law enforcement agencies would spend between $775,880 and $1,163,820 dollars in processing expenses. Jail costs would run between $21,195,600 and $96,086,720 dollars, and attorney and staff fees between $810,067 and $1,620,134 dollars.”

The ripple effect

Ironically, Arizona lawmakers’ attempts to crackdown on immigrants have galvanized Latinos and immigration reform supporters on a national level. As Suzy Khimm reports in Mother Jones, “In light of the passage of Arizona’s draconian immigration law, advocates have been ramping up the pressure on the Democratic leadership to demonstrate some concrete sign of progress by May 1, when nationwide immigration reform rallies are scheduled.”

At the Washington Monthly, Steve Benen notes how SB 1070 has also created a political quandary for Republican lawmakers in Congress. “So far, only two GOP members — Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — have been willing to criticize the state law,” writes Benen. “If the issue is a test of Republicans’ political and moral seriousness, it appears most of the party caucus on the Hill is content with an ‘incomplete.’”

The anti-immigrant backlash

Immigration reform supporters also know that punitive laws won’t go away until Congress moves to pass reform.  Already, as Jason Hancock at the Iowa Independent reports, “a Republican candidate for congress in Iowa’s 3rd District calling for microchips to be installed in immigrants.”

Pat Bertroche, the candidate, is quoted by Hancock comparing undocumented immigrants to “dogs,” saying “I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support microchipping them. I can microchip my dog so I can find it. Why can’t I microchip an illegal?”

Meanwhile, the National Radio Project reports on the lives of gay and lesbian immigrants who live in the United States without papers. Un Jung Lim, a U.S. citizen whose partner was deported after living in the United States for 18 years on a worker visa, tearfully said “We’ve been separated for five months and we hope to be reunited soon, but we don’t know when that’s going to be.”

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about immigration by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint.  This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

by Erin Rosa, Media Consortium blogger


LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you for article.

JC N.6 years ago

I was the U.S., grew up in Phx. My late father was a legal immigrant of Mexico, Mom's a Caucasian American. I've traveled & lived in Europe & the Middle East in the local cities, not as part of the US military or on a base. Most Americans are unaware that in ANY foreign country, papers & person are stringently examined, with machine-gun-armed guys standing close by, ready & willing to strictly enforce that country's immigration laws. In my opinion, we need to strictly enforce our laws at the borders, hi-tech the airports, but can-x the racial profiling crap in town. Whenever anyone says "Mexican" or "Mexican American", U.S. patriots & bigots alike equate those words with "lazy, uneducated, free-loading, violent drug-cartel criminal illegal immigrant", hence without a voice, rights, etc. Anyone who advocates for tolerance is equated to be pro-violent drug-cartel criminal illegal immigrant, promoting the ruin of America, etc., & those advocates, therefore, deserve to be without a voice or rights, run out of town, vilified, - at the very least, shouted down as nasty left wing liberals.Many of my friends and family (the all-white ones) still in AZ SAY the new bill is fair, as they, too, could get pulled over just like Hispanics. However, they're so blond/blue-eyed/pale skinned/non-Latino-surnamed, they know it'll never happen. I'm saddened beyond words at the insensitivity of my home state & heartily glad I live in (ironically enough) Alabama.

Ken G.
Ken G.6 years ago

Last night again I got on some Mexicans cases for bringing their friends into the neighborhood to tune up their damn boom-boom boxes. Of course they all feel that it's in their rights to do this sort of thing and for those who are hung up on rights I wish just once they'd turn their brains on. Society functions with collective rights, not individual rights. We join together collectively because we're stronger that way while looking at wars and protests and boycotting we become divided and weak.
LA voted to officially boycott Arizona because of this immigration law. One small business that will lose from this brought up how they never even read the bill My own thoughts were maybe we should rerun some of the Rodney King news about the riots that went on in LA. And our country's Attorney General was asked if he read the bill as he commented on it's illegal. He answered "No.'
I am proud of Arizona but have to admit ashamed of this country. I mean today Afghans are protesting about our killing of civilians over there but nobody is bothered about something like that yet it's big news about Arizona doing something about what our useless federal government never did anything about. That's sick!

Dorcas H.
Dorcas H.6 years ago

I hate to say it but after reading you comments. I'm glad I don't have much longer on this earth....the hate, bitterness, petty, meaness is sucking the very life out of me. Is there no other measurement for weather you care enough about another person to protect there civil rights...( is of how much use they are to you, whether or not they use tax money..that's a laugh, or as long as it's not you they're harrassing.) Many of you are not aware that because of the Patriot Act...we no longer have 4th Amendment Rights i.e. we are at WAR. Therefor, any official can come into your home, without knocking, and locate anything and use it against you, charge you with a crime and detaine and sentencce you without "Probable Cause"...which means they no longer have to go to court and tell the Judge, I suspect this crime has been committed, I expect to find, evidence in the home in this location and this is why I believe this to be the case. NO! you no longer have those protections, so watch out how y ou trample all over someone else's Civil Rights, yours are at stake now, TODAY.

Renee L.
Renee L.6 years ago

I totally agree with Ken G, also there are provisions in this bill that absolutely prevent racial profiling and states that profiling is illegal! You do not have to worry about the police UNLESS you are breaking the law! Illegals are breaking the law, but if they continue to break other laws of the land, than yes, they will be asked for their papers. That is not profiling.
Mon P, try sneaking into Mexico without your papers and see what happens. Go ahead, I double dog dare you. Any of you liberals on this site, any hispanics who are American citizens, go ahead, sneak into Mexico without the proper papers. I think any of you spending two years in a Mexican prison will teach you how other countries treat illegals. We are way too lenient now and that is what caused this problem in the first place. Our tax dollars support people who do not pay into the system in anyway, we as a nation are bankrupt, Arizona, California, as states are completely bankrupt! Just in case you do not understand the word bankrupt, it mean there is absolutely no more money!!

Ken G.
Ken G.6 years ago

I don't think you understand that the state of Arizona just made the federal law about immigration a state law. It's as simple as that. Because you leave your identification in different cloths is about an ignorant of a point as the 14th amendment. Hispanics racial profile those that aren't Hispanics constantly here and it's disgusting. I went with a women who was Apache, born on the Sans Carlos reservation. I once was at the Arboretum with her when she stopped dead in her tracks after spotting a Hispanic woman working there. When I questioned her about it she told me when she went to school at first she was accepted as Hispanic but when it was found out she was Native American the Hispanic girls made her life pure hell. My neighbor is black and when I asked him if there was friction between his race and Hispanics he told me there's a lot of friction. I knew another woman whose son was brought up with church and sports activities. When he became a teen he and some friends were coming home and their car was hit by a Hispanic young man celebrating his 18th birthday. Right in front of his own house 2 in the car that was hit lost their heads. This mother got to see her child that way and the Hispanic's father said it was discrimination when they put his son on trial. All the drinking that Hispanics do in front of their own children gets passed on so I think that the Illegals might be better in this country than those we've got now. I do have a strong dislike for those behaviors.

Mon P.
Mon P.6 years ago

I don't think you guys understood my point in posting the 14th amendment. I'm speaking for myself as a U.S. citizen. I don't want to be racially profiled was my point and I don't want my rights as a U.S. citizen to be violated. That was my point. As far as Ken G. the comment you made, "I mean in my neighborhood when I get on the Hispanics to turn their boom-boom noise down I hear them tell me I'm discriminating against Hispanics." I'm sure we both know telling someone to turn their music down is not discriminating, unless of course it only bothers you because they're Hispanic then that's a whole other issue, but the fact that you chose to say "the hispanics to turn their boom-boom music down" says a lot. That's exactly my point. Some people really don't see anything wrong with their comments or their actions. That's why I said the bill does not protect Hispanic Citizens from racial profiling. I do want the best for Arizona and I can tell you this isn't it. I have never seen racism so vocal here. And to suggest that because I don't agree with the bill as it is today I dont want the best for my state is ignorant. We need immigration reform and common sense not hate and ignorance.

Ken G.
Ken G.6 years ago

The Constitution doesn't apply to the illegal immigrants but from living in Arizona the illegals sometimes would make better citizens in this country then the protesters and those that boycott our state.
A politician who is in our state government was talking to a Hispanic commentator who seemed to attempt to trap him into admitting how bad this law is. This guy brought some very interesting points up. This law is actually the same as the federal law concerning illegal immigrants. The politicians worked together with law enforcement officers and those that objected to the way it's written before it was passed into law. In other words the bugs were all worked out beforehand. The part about Arizona losing millions of dollars was then brought up which this politician had an excellent answer too. The places that will lose the most financially from the boycotts employ the most Hispanics. So the way I understood this was the protesters and the boycotters are hurting their-selves.

On the human side of this I've worked with and know people from Mexico. I honestly believe they would make very good citizens in this country because most are looking for a chance in life. They seem to appreciate more then many people of all races who just take what was given to them for granted. My hope is that this Arizona law forces people from all over to pay attention to who is representing them on the federal level so better decisions get made in the future. We've been enablers for to lon

Robert the Bruce
Robert the Bruce6 years ago

Since the CriminAliens are not citizens, the Constitution doesn't apply to them.