Democrats Lead Calls to Boycott Arizona Over Immigration Bill

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Calls grew
across the US today for a boycott of Arizona over its new law giving
the police the most draconian powers in the country to deal with
illegal immigration.

Democratic
members of Congress, religious leaders and leftwing activists urged
a boycott of hotels, convention centres and other economic targets
in the state. At least one nationwide group has responded by cancelling
a convention planned for the autumn. Scores of lorry drivers were
reported in the US media to have threatened to stop carrying loads
to and from the state.

The calls are
being made spontaneously by individuals and an array of groups,
but leftwing activists predict they will soon coalesce into a single
campaign.

The bill, signed
into law on Friday, gives police the right to stop anyone "if
reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully
present in the US". It has polarised opinion across the US,
creating a clear divide between Democrats and Republicans.

In a sign of
the passions aroused, cleaning crews were called to the state legislative
building this morning to clear swastikas daubed on it overnight.

Opponents of
the legislation say it will lead to victimisation of anyone who
looks or sounds Latino. Supporters say the legislation is needed
because the state can no longer cope with an estimated 450,000 illegal
immigrants.

Among those
calling for a sweeping boycott was the San Francisco city attorney,
Dennis Herrera, who urged city departments to look at contracts
with Arizona that could be terminated.

Herrera said:
"Arizona has charted an ominous legal course that puts extremist
politics before public safety, and betrays our most deeply held
American values."

He noted that
a similar boycott 20 years ago, which included the National Football
League’s decision to move the Super Bowl from the state, led to
Arizona finally dropping its refusal to recognise to Martin Luther
King Day.

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April
27, 2010

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