LAUSD board condemns Arizona immigration law

A Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education resolution passed today calls for exploring ways of curtailing economic support of Arizona and companies based there.

The resolution, proposed by board President Monica Garcia and members Nury Martinez and Yolie Flores, also calls for LAUSD civics and history classes to include a discussion of the Arizona law "in the context of unity, diversity and equal protection for all.''

"America must stand for tolerance, inclusiveness and equality,'' Garcia said. "In our civics classes and in our hallways, we must give life to these values by teaching our students to value themselves, to respect others and to demand fairness and justice for all who live within our borders. Any law which violates civil rights is un-American.''

The LAUSD resolution states that the legislation "effectively sanctions and promotes unconstitutional racial profiling and harassment, and blatantly violates the civil rights of both Arizona residents and all visitors to the state.''

SB 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, makes it illegal to be in Arizona without proper documentation.

It authorizes local law enforcement to investigate a person's immigration status whenever there is a reasonable suspicion that the individual is in the country illegally. However, it bars solely using race, color or national origin to question suspected illegal immigrants.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law on April 23, although it is not expected to take effect until around August. A week later she signed a package of amendments to the law that she said "make it crystal clear and undeniable that racial profiling is illegal and will not be tolerated in Arizona.''

"Arizona is acting responsibly to address a border security crisis that is not of our making,'' Brewer said. "The federal government's failure requires us to act to protect our citizens, and we are doing just that.''

Passage of the law has prompted outcry from various officials across the country. The Los Angeles City Council approved an economic boycott of Arizona in response to the law last month, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a boycott today.

The LAUSD resolution urges students and their families to be aware of Arizona's policies and directs Superintendent Ramon Cortines to come back to the board with recommendations of how the district can "curtail any economic support'' of Arizona, such as district-sponsored employee travel or contracts with companies based in the state.

"Everyone, regardless of their status in the United States, has the right to equal protection under our laws,'' Martinez said. "These Arizona laws are nothing but a knee-jerk backlash resulting from the lack of a comprehensive and well thought-out immigration reform policy.''

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