LA officials plan to keep Arizona boycott in place

Janice Hahn and Ed Reyes, Los Angeles City Council members and co-authors of the resolution, speak during a news conference after the City Council approved an economic boycott of Arizona on May 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Janice Hahn and Ed Reyes, Los Angeles City Council members and co-authors of the resolution, speak during a news conference after the City Council approved an economic boycott of Arizona on May 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.
Getty Images /File photo

Despite a federal court ruling blocking key portions of Arizona's new immigration law from taking effect, members of the Los Angeles City Council said today they had no immediate plans to lift the city's economic boycott of the state.

"I think it's premature to get a knee-jerk reaction now,'' said Councilman Ed Reyes, one of the authors of the motion that led to the city's boycott.

"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 said.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix issued a preliminary injunction today blocking several sections of SB 1070 from taking effect. Most notably, she blocked the provision that requires law enforcement officials to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws, if they reasonably suspect the person is in the country illegally.

She also blocked the section creating a state crime for failing to carry registration papers; the section making it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work; and the portion authorizing the arrest of people believed to have committed an offense that could result in their deportation.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Patt Morrison today that the injunction would not change how he has been enforcing state and federal law in Maricopa County.

"We’re going to continue our crime suppression operation that I promised we would do tomorrow whether we have the new law or not, so it’s going to be business as usual for this sheriff,” Arpaio said.

To date, the county has been enforcing two other federal and state illegal immigration laws and 40,000 people have been detected, investigated and arrested, Arpaio said.

Republican Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, who authored SB 1070, said attorneys for the state would file an emergency appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes of getting a quick review of the decision.

"It's a little disappointing, but again, this is not the final answer,'' Pearce told KNX Newsradio. "What she has done is she has enjoined these (provisions) temporarily while they get a greater review by the court. So this is not a restraining order, per se, it's just a delay, and it's a preliminary injunction.

"But again, it's pretty disappointing because it is a federal crime to not have your green card on you, your visa on you, if you're a visitor in the state,'' he said. "And we just put that into state law. It is a felony to hire folks that are in this country illegally, but she said that it's OK for them to solicit work.

"You know, the courts have ruled. I'm very confident that we'll win on appeal.''

Reyes called the judge's decision to put the most contentious sections of SB 1070 on hold "a very positive reinforcement of what democracy is about, that we understand it's important for everyone to be treated with human dignity and civil rights.''

"I'm elated,'' said Councilman Jose Huizar. "I think all of America should be elated because our Constitution, our courts, are protecting us from laws that would create discrimination.''

Councilwoman Janice Hahn added, "I think this judge validated what our concerns were in the city of Los Angeles -- that this law in Arizona was an unconstitutional way to deal with illegal immigration. I think that her concerns were our concerns -- that this law violated people's civil rights.''

Still, several council members said they had no interest in immediately withdrawing Los Angeles' economic boycott of Arizona -- at least for now.

"I think it's too soon,'' Councilman Paul Koretz said. "I think (the most contentious sections of SB 1070) have just been put on hold 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.''

City Council President Eric Garcetti noted that Bolton's ruling is only a temporary injunction and said, "If there's a permanent decision that throws out the portions of this law that seem to be inconsistent with federal law, we could be back in business (with Arizona).''

Several council members also expressed hope that the Arizona debacle will light a fire under Congress to work on federal immigration reform.

"All of us agree there needs to be federal action on immigration. All of us agree that we need secure borders,'' Garcetti said. "(SB 1070) was about whether something was so overreaching as to deny basic civil liberties and it seems like the judge has the same hesitations we do.''

Huizar said Bolton's ruling does not "take the federal government off the hook.''

"We need comprehensive immigration reform (because) there are going to be more states that will attempt to find their own ways of dealing with immigration if the federal government does not do its job,'' he added.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles, also said the Arizona battle should spark action from Congress on immigration.

"This entire Arizona attempt to deal with various immigration issues outside federal law reveals once again the level of frustration across the country that the U.S. Congress will not deal with the pressing issue of needed immigration reform,'' Mahony said. "Without needed congressional action, local communities and states will continue to proposed stop-gap measures which do not address all aspects of needed immigration reform.''

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also urged federal action on the issue.

"We must take the momentum of this win and continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform,'' the mayor said. ``Our country, as a land of immigrants, deserves 21st century legislation that reflects the long-standing American ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.''

Despite the judge's ruling, hundreds of Southland immigrant-rights activists were still traveling to Arizona to protest the measure.

Members of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition gathered this morning to pile into vehicles bound for Arizona, where they plan to participate in protests Thursday, when the law had been scheduled to take effect.

"People that come here deserve rights. They deserve equality. They don't deserve to be harassed,'' protester David Feldman told reporters before heading toward Arizona.

Union members led by the Los Angeles County Federal of Labor, AFL-CIO, will also be boarding buses bound for Arizona later today.