Published July 29, 2010
A federal judge may have yanked the teeth out of Arizona's new immigration law this week, but that hasn't stopped all the boycotts of the state that spread nationwide in protest of its passage.
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., has called on national groups to end their boycott, and while some Californians are reconsidering it, others are plowing forward. City officials in San Francisco and Los Angeles are still pushing a boycott, including a call on Major League Baseball to move next year's All-Star game from Phoenix.
The National Council of La Raza, the nation's biggest Hispanic advocacy group, said its boycott and call for a relocation of next year's All-Star game "will remain in effect until the law is permanently repealed, overturned by the courts or superseded by federal comprehensive immigration reform legislation."
In her temporary injunction, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton delayed the most contentious provisions of the law, including a section that required officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. She also barred enforcement of parts requiring immigrants to carry their visas and banned illegal immigrants from soliciting employment in public places -- a move aimed at day laborers that congregate in large numbers in parking lots across Arizona. The judge also blocked officers from making warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, rallies in Phoenix against the remainder of the law taking effect on Thursday resulted in the early arrests of three people at the federal courthouse. Police had riot gear in case protesters got out of hand. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said anyone who gets out of hand at a sit-in at his office will be arrested and put in pink underwear, his signature public humiliation for alleged lawbreakers.
Grijalva issued a statement after the ruling calling on the nation to "pause and take a deep breath."
"We need to concentrate on the economy, the lack of jobs and teachers, and the other crucial issues facing Arizona and the rest of the country," Grijalva said. "As part of this pause, I am encouraging national groups to return their conventions and conferences to the state to help us change the political and economic climate."
As part of the boycotts, city governments around the nation typically banned employees from traveling to Arizona and in some cases moved to reconsider contracts with state businesses.
But some of those campaigns ran into glitches along the way, watering down the impact. Los Angeles exempted from the boycott a contract with an Arizona company that provided its red-light cameras. The Los Angeles City Council also is reportedly considering another exemption for airport taxi company Super Shuttle, based in Arizona.
In California, some officials said the court ruling gave them pause to continue the boycotts.
"We have to evaluate" whether to move forward. We don't want to be punitive in any way," state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who wrote the state's resolution to boycott, told the San Francisco Chronicle. He said the ruling was "very significant, as the judge said what we thought she would say: That Arizona, nor any other state, cannot have their own immigration policy."
A spokeswoman for state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told the same newspaper that the state's review of its contracts held with Arizona is "on hold."
But other city officials and national groups apparently aren't ready to reflect on the new law.
"This is not a complete victory, it's a partial victory," San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who has led the city's call for a boycott and joined the city attorney in demanded a relocation of the All-Star Game, told the Chronicle. "There is still the issue of a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment in Arizona."
Members of the Los Angeles City Council told a local newspaper they were not planning to lift the city's economic boycott of the state.
"I think it's premature to get a knee-jerk reaction now," Councilman Ed Reyes, one of the authors of the motion that led to the city's boycott, told the Daily Breeze.
"I think we still need to keep the pressure so that we are consistent with our concerns and our actions, but I will be testing and asking my colleagues how they feel and see where we take this," he reportedly said.
Despite warnings from local officials that Arizona could lose a fortune over the boycotts, evidence suggests that the state is still doing business as usual. Recent data compiled by a market research group show hotel bookings across the state -- as well as in tourism hot spots Phoenix and Scottsdale -- have been on the rise the past two months.
According to the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association, leisure hotel bookings are up after a record bad year in 2009, but the conventions and meetings sectors have taken a hit -- a development that could cost Arizona millions over the long term given that conventions are sometimes booked years in advance.
Los Angeles Councilman Paul Koretz also told the Daily Breeze that it's "too soon" to end the boycott because the most contentious sections were delayed in a "preliminary way."
"I think when this law is fully overturned, at that point, it would make sense to eliminate the boycott, but until then, I think we should keep it in force," he said.
Elsewhere, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he's not going to attend a borders governors conference rescheduled to take place in New Mexico because Mexican officials boycotted the one originally scheduled to take place in Arizona.
"Listen, (they)'re not going to come to Arizona, that's their call. But don't, you know, move it down the road and then expect all of us to go follow. I'm not going to be there," he told Fox News.