Boston City Council takes action on Arizona legislation

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Joining a chorus of criticism nationwide, the Boston City Council today passed a resolution calling for the city not to invest in state or local government in Arizona, in protest over the state’s recently passed immigration law.

A brief round of cheers broke out in the chamber after the unanimous voice vote on the resolution this afternoon.

The non-binding resolution authored by City Council President Michael Ross and Councilor Felix G. Arroyo calls for the city “to the extent reasonable … not to participate in any business activities substantially connected with the State of Arizona and municipalities in Arizona.”

The resolution calls for the city to review its investments in Arizona state or municipal bonds and to review travel by city employees to Arizona for conferences and other official business, said Arroyo.

“As a city, we have long rejected the idea that racial profiling is sound public safety policy,” he said, calling it bad policy and an infringement on citizens’ constitutional rights. “And we decided we don’t want to invest in a state that believes otherwise.”

Ross said in prepared remarks that the vote would send “a message to other cities and states that laws like these are unfair to the people who have done as so many of our forefathers have done — come to this country legally to make a better life for themselves.”

Ross said he was “outraged when I heard about the Arizona law that requires anyone who looks ‘reasonably suspicious’ to be stopped and asked to prove that they’re a legal resident of the United States. The last time people were stopped and asked for papers in this country, it was during the era of slavery.”

No one spoke against the proposal, said Amy Derjue, a spokeswoman for Ross.

Councilors have reported a slew of angry calls over the resolution after area conservative talk radio shows urged listeners to call councilors. Immigrant advocates also phoned councilors urging them to support it.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office didn’t immediately have a comment.

Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer has said that the state is “acting responsibly to address a border security crisis that is not of our making.”

“The federal government’s failure requires us to act to protect our citizens, and we are doing just that,” she said last week, signing an amendment to the controversial bill that she said was intended to prevent racial profiling.

Arizona governor’s spokesman Paul Senseman, said that in Arizona both proponents and opponents of the law have come out against economic boycotts.

“It is clear that an economic boycott of Arizona would indiscriminately harm innocent people,” he said.

Since the vote, a number of entities have reacted negatively, raising concerns about the economic hit Arizona will take. The venerable African-American fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha decided to move its 104th general convention from Phoenix to Las Vegas. The Major League Players Association — 27 percent of whose members are Latino — condemned the action. The Phoenix Suns have also announced they will wear a jersey bearing the name “Los Suns” during a playoff game tonight in protest of the law.

Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles are considering measures similar to Boston’s.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


One Comment

  1. I think that it is a triumph of our republic that individual entities across the country are uniting together in opposition to the unconstitutional law in Arizona. It matters not where you are, because “injust anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”


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