LA votes to boycott Arizona businesses
Move may imperil $8m in contracts
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles yesterday became the largest city yet to boycott Arizona over its tough new law targeting illegal immigration in a move that probably will affect some $8 million in contracts with the state.
The City Council voted 13 to 1 to bar Los Angeles from conducting business with Arizona unless the law is repealed. The vote followed an emotional council discussion during which many members noted that their ancestors were US immigrants.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa already has said he would approve the boycott.
The proposal could affect investments and contracts worth as much as $52 million, including those for airport, harbor, and trucking services, according to a report from the city’s chief legislative analyst. That report recommends that the council consider whether to suspend travel, cut contracts, and refrain from making new ones with Arizona-based companies.
But Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who coauthored the resolution, said it would be impractical to cancel most of those deals and only about $7 million to $8 million in city contracts probably would be affected.
Hahn said the Los Angeles boycott also won’t affect the city’s Department of Water and Power, which has wind farm and nuclear energy contracts in Arizona. Among the contracts with Arizona companies that conceivably could be terminated include those for helicopter services,
Hahn said the best scenario would be to give those contracts to California suppliers.
The resolution contends that Arizona’s new law encourages racial profiling and is unconstitutional. The law, set to take effect July 29, requires police to question a person about his or her immigration status if there is “reasonable suspicion’’ that the person is in the United States illegally. The law also makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. Several lawsuits seeking to block its implementation are pending in US District Court in Phoenix.
Some polls have suggested strong popular support for the Arizona law, and critics are concerned that other states may follow with their own versions.
Several cities across the country have passed resolutions or urged boycotts to protest the law, including Oakland, Calif., and San Diego. A nonbinding resolution San Francisco city supervisors approved Tuesday urges a boycott of Arizona-based businesses and asks sports leagues not to hold championship games or tournaments there.
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona said the boycotts are unfortunate and misguided, primarily because the law mirrors a federal requirement that legal immigrants carry immigration papers.
“It’s already the law in the United States, and I have a responsibility to stand up and protect the people of Arizona and we will do that,’’ Brewer said Tuesday.
Allegations that the law will lead to racial profiling are “just pure rhetoric,’’ Brewer said.
“I find it really interesting that we have people out there that are attempting a boycott in favor of illegal actions in Arizona. That to me is just unbelievable.’’