Two Los Angeles City Council members called Tuesday for an economic boycott to protest a tough new immigration law in Arizona. On Thursday, the mayor voiced his support for the plan.
"It's important that the second-largest city in the country respond to a legislative act that, in essence, promotes persecution and racial profiling of a group of people that make up a large number of this country's citizenry," Councilman Ed Reyes said.
"More than half of the folks living in Los Angeles are Latino, and for us to do nothing is unacceptable," he said. "For us to not to take heed to this action, which essentially is promoting this concept that every state can establish their own federal immigration laws, is just wrong and dangerous."
The resolution introduced by Reyes and Councilwoman Janice Hahn calls for the city of Los Angeles to "refrain from conducting business with the state of Arizona including participating in any conventions or other business that requires city resources, unless SB 1070 (Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhood Acts") is repealed."
The resolution must go through the council's Information Technology and Government Affairs Committee before reaching the full council.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Thursday that he supports the boycott.
"No person should be treated differently in the eyes of the law," Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a Thursday news conference.
The mayor's announcement comes two days before an immigrants-rights march expected to bring thousands of people to downtown. Rally organizers have been urging people to attend Saturday's "May Day" march and rally on Broadway as a show of opposition to the newly approved Arizona law.
If the resolution is passed, Reyes said the city's budgetary and legislative analysts will be directed to assess the city's investments and other business activities in Arizona, which has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants.
"On the boycott, what we want to do is make sure we understand and review every monetary transaction, any kind of funding that comes from Los Angeles (to Arizona), evaluate it, refrain from conducting business with them and make them aware that their actions have real consequences from a monetary view," Reyes said.
"The Spanish-speaking community is the largest part of the economy. Without our participation, (Arizona) will be hurt, and if every state in this country took the same road, we could isolate (Arizona) economically so they can understand how they are mistreating and abusing people in America," he said.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law on Friday, but it is not scheduled to take effect until late July or early August.
It states that law enforcement officers can arrest a person without a warrant if they have "probable cause to believe that the person has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States."
It also allows law enforcement officers to check whether a person has documents to show whether he or she is in the county legally. If such documents are not provided, the individual could be jailed for up to six months and fined at least $500. Those arrested would then be turned over to federal immigration officials.