The Los Angeles City Council's vote to boycott Arizona caused more consternation than anything else. L.A. City Council members voted an overwhelming 13-1 to terminate any city contracts with Arizona (worth about $7.7 million) as did other American cities who have considered resolutions to protest the Arizona law or seek boycotts. Among these cities are San Francisco and St. Paul, Minn.The lone dissenter on the council, Republican Greig Smith, said in an e-mail statement:
"The Hahn motion is not in the economic best interests of the City of Los Angeles. I have always opposed using the Los Angeles City Council to weigh in on non-related social issues that are not within the purview of Los Angeles. I voted no on the motion to boycott Arizona."Unfortunately, Mr. Smith's thinking did not find its way to the United Nations. The international body, that recognizes genocidal tyrants and enables them to remain in power, weighed in on the debate, saying, "The law may lead to detaining and subjecting to interrogation persons primarily on the basis of their perceived ethnic characteristics."
"I cannot go to Arizona today without a passport," Los Angeles Councilman Ed Reyes, a Democrat, said before the vote. "If I come across an officer who's had a bad day and feels the picture on my ID is not me, I could be summarily deported -- no questions asked. That is not American."
Oh really? I interviewed Mr. Reyes (ENTIRE AUDIO INTERVIEW) on Friday about his thinking on Arizona's immigration law, known as SB 1070. While Mr. Reyes insisted he read the 16-page law and is aware that the law prohibits law enforcement officers from asking individuals their legal status based on their race, national origin, and color, he said that the law would not stop law enforcement officers from racially profiling anyway. (AUDIO)
"Why should I as an American worry about walking down a street in the United States fearing harassment, because of the color of my skin? Why should I have to live like that?"(AUDIO)
I pressed him on that issue reminding the city councilman that SB 1070 is based on federal immigration law of the past 70 years. I asked what exactly changed in his mind.
"You have a law that begins to classify and categorize a whole group of people that look a certain way. You're creating a second-class citizen. You're creating an environment of fear." Below is a partial transcript of our conversation:
PICKET: Where exactly in the law does it say that? Considering that it prohibits that? As I'm asking here, federal law which has been around for about seventy years has been saying that undocumented individuals have to be carrying papers, so what exactly has changed between federal law of the last seventy years and Arizona's law?I also spoke with Becca Doten, communications director for Los Angeles City Councilman and Democrat Richard Alarcon. Doten relayed the Councilman's response to my questions regarding his vote to boycott Arizona.
REYES: What's changed is you have a very active effort to round up people that look a certain way, and if you have proof you are an American citizen that let you go, and if you don't they deport you. So now, that I look like a Mexican, and I am Mexican American, I become a target.(AUDIO)
PICKET: Why is this law considered any different than what has been around for the last seventy years...because it's being enforced?
REYES: Why does a state have to call that out? Why can't it just follow the federal law like you said for the past seventy years? (AUDIO)
"He read the law. He doesn't believe that Arizona Police are inherently racist, but he believes that the law will create circumstances that can enable racial profiling, because they [The Arizona Police] have never been trained on immigration law, false ID's, etcetera, that's specific to immigration enforcement. It's not that they're inherently racist but that they're unskilled in trying to enforce a law in which they have not had specific training."This is an interesting argument, considering the California Penal Code actually requires that every law enforcement agency in the state shall "fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws."
Below is a copy of section 834b of the California Penal Code that deals with immigration law enforcement at the local level.
(a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status. (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.UPDATED 5/17/10 - Whoa! Apparently, Los Angeles politicians have not read their own penal codes, because it appears to read similarly to SB 1070. Unfortunately, California has looked the other way with a wink and a nod and allowed the City and County of San Francisco to become a City and County of Refuge. The contradiction is another area that Californians have yet to clear up themselves.(h/t J.Scharf)
Here is Arizona's SB 1070
ARTICLE 8. ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAWS
14 11-1051. Cooperation and assistance in enforcement of
15 immigration laws; indemnification
16 A. NO OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR
17 OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE MAY ADOPT A POLICY THAT LIMITS OR
18 RESTRICTS THE ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAWS TO LESS THAN THE FULL
19 EXTENT PERMITTED BY FEDERAL LAW.
20 B. FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY
21 OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS
22 STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS
23 UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,
24 WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE
25 PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
26 PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c).
27 C. IF AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES IS
28 CONVICTED OF A VIOLATION OF STATE OR LOCAL LAW, ON DISCHARGE FROM
29 IMPRISONMENT OR ASSESSMENT OF ANY FINE THAT IS IMPOSED, THE ALIEN SHALL BE
30 TRANSFERRED IMMEDIATELY TO THE CUSTODY OF THE UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION AND
31 CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT OR THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION.
32 D. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER LAW, A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY MAY
33 SECURELY TRANSPORT AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES
34 AND WHO IS IN THE AGENCY'S CUSTODY TO A FEDERAL FACILITY IN THIS STATE OR TO
35 ANY OTHER POINT OF TRANSFER INTO FEDERAL CUSTODY THAT IS OUTSIDE THE
36 JURISDICTION OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.
In 2007 San Francisco was sued for not complying with state law and failing to report non - citizens for drug arrests. It should be noted that according to reports, the individual who filed the lawsuit was a "70-year old Portola district resident who came to the United States from Nicaragua at the age of 9... said he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, especially those who break the law after they get here."
Placing boycotts on Arizona, using excuses like SB 1070 could "lead to racial profiling", or that the Arizona police are not sufficiently "trained" to handle a job the federal authorities should be doing, is just nonsense. The Los Angeles City Council and cities currently boycotting Arizona might want to re-examine their own immigration laws before they start nitpicking at others.
Will they also now boycott their own state?