Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, joining the City Council in registering strong objections to the tough new immigration laws in Arizona, said today that he will consider canceling city contracts with firms based in the state that agree with the crackdown.
As the City Council passed a resolution calling on the city to cut business ties with Arizona, Menino said it was important to send "a message" that Boston disagreed with its new laws.
"It's a message saying America is a land of opportunity," he said. "Now there's one little state out there saying, 'We don't want that land of opportunity. We want to be isolationists.'"
Menino added, "To say you're not welcome in your state to work, that's wrong. This country was built on immigrants. My grandfather, so many other folks, came to America looking for that hope of a better future."
The mayor's aides said they had already identified at least one contract, a $1.1 million agreement between the Boston Centers for Youth & Families and an Arizona software firm, that would be newly scrutinized, and that there may be others. Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce said the mayor intends to write each firm and inquire about their views on immigration.
Earlier in the day, the City Council, joining a chorus of criticism nationwide, passed a resolution calling for the city not to invest in state or local government in Arizona. A brief round of cheers broke out in the chamber after the unanimous voice vote.
The non-binding measure, authored by City Council President Michael Ross and Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, calls for the city "to the extent reasonable ... not to participate in any business activities substantially connected with the State of Arizona and municipalities in Arizona."
The resolution also calls for the city to review its investments in Arizona state or municipal bonds and to review travel by city employees to Arizona for conferences and other official business, Arroyo said.
"As a city, we have long rejected the idea that racial profiling is sound public safety policy," he said. "And we decided we don't want to invest in a state that believes otherwise."
Ross said he was "outraged when I heard about the Arizona law that requires anyone who looks 'reasonably suspicious' to be stopped and asked to prove that they're a legal resident of the United States. The last time people were stopped and asked for papers in this country, it was during the era of slavery."
No one spoke against the proposal, said Amy Derjue, a spokeswoman for Ross.
City councilors have reported a slew of angry calls over the resolution after area conservative talk radio shows urged listeners to call councilors. Immigrant advocates also phoned councilors urging them to support it.
Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer has said that her state is "acting responsibly to address a border security crisis that is not of our making."
"The federal government's failure requires us to act to protect our citizens, and we are doing just that," she said last week, in signing an amendment to the controversial bill that she said was intended to prevent racial profiling.
A spokesman for the governor, Paul Senseman, said that in Arizona both proponents and opponents of the law have come out against economic boycotts.
"It is clear that an economic boycott of Arizona would indiscriminately harm innocent people," he said.
The venerable African-American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha decided to move its 104th general convention from Phoenix to Las Vegas. The Major League Players Association -- 27 percent of whose members are Latino -- condemned the action. The Phoenix Suns have also announced they would wear a jersey bearing the name "Los Suns" during a playoff game in protest of the law.
Washington DC, New York, and Los Angeles are considering measures similar to Boston's.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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