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SF city leaders call for boycott of Arizona

April 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
City leaders in San Francisco are calling for a boycott of the state of Arizona and Arizona-based businesses. It's a reaction to that state's tough new immigration law; a law that has re-ignited a national debate.

San Francisco supervisors are calling Arizona's new law "draconian" and "hostile." And they're hoping to punish Arizona for it by pulling the plug on any city money now being spent there, though the city attorney's office couldn't say yet how much is at stake.

"Tomorrow we will be introducing a resolution at the Board of Supervisors that calls for a citywide boycott of the state of Arizona," San Francisco Supervisor David Campos said.

A rally protesting an immigration crackdown on a San Francisco janitorial company was planned before Arizona's law passed, but it was the perfect platform for the city's condemnation of the new law.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera says his office will help the city put its money where its mouth is, and divest from Arizona.

"The city attorney has also offered the legal services of his office whether it's writing amicus briefs or advising anybody who would seek to challenge the Arizona law to strike it down," city attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey said.

Members of the anti-immigration group the Minutemen also came to the rally and demonstrators wanted them to stay across the street.

Paul Farmer says he loves the Arizona law.

"I'm not just against the Hispanic population. I'm against the Irish or Chinese, or anyone else that's here illegally. We have to take control of our borders," he said.

"People are flooding into our country by the hundreds of thousands, millions, they're bringing in all kinds of other people, drug traffic, there's people getting killed," Golden Gate Minutemen member Steve Kemp said.

San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon was the Mesa, Arizona police chief for three years before coming here. In Mesa, he studied the connection between illegal immigration and crime.

"Are there people that are coming to this country that are involved in the drug trade? Unquestionably. Do most of the people who come here illegally involved in the drug trade? Of course not. Most of the people who cross the border without authority are coming here to work," he said.

Gascon says the new law will wipe out years of good faith built between police and the immigrant community and he says the mostly under-funded Arizona police departments will have to transfer their focus from crime-fighting to immigration enforcement.

On Monday, 70 Southern California truck drivers stated they are refusing to move loads in or out of Arizona. They will participate in a five-day boycott, but the city of San Francisco's proposed boycott is unlimited.


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