County Supervisors: Arizona's Law "Goes Too Far"

First the City Council, now the County Board of Supervisors

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    AP
    ** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, DEC. 31 **A National Guard soldier peers over the vast Otay Mountain Valley as he assists the Border Patrol infrared scope unit as agents search the area for smugglers in San Diego Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006. The unit directs other agents in the area when they sight smugglers bringing illegal immigrants into the country. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

    Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina will ask their colleagues next week to authorize a county boycott of Arizona over the state's law cracking down on illegal immigration.

    In a motion submitted Wednesday, the supervisors contend the Arizona law "violates core American civil rights and civil liberties, including the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expressive activity, the Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures and the Equal Protection Clause guarantee of equal protection under the law."

    The motion will have at least one opponent on the board -- Supervisor Mike Antonovich, according to aide Tony Bell. He called the proposal "stupid."

    "As elected officials, we take an oath to uphold the federal and state  constitutions," said Antonovich. "To  boycott a state for enforcing our federal laws is in direct violation of that  oath.

    "The propaganda by both the media and others is intentionally  misleading because Arizona's law mirrors federal law.. Rather than  debating a boycott, this board should hold our federal representatives  accountable for their failure to act on immigration reform but also for their  failure to reimburse the costs incurred by local governments."

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    He noted that Arizona supplies the county with "water and energy as  well as jobs and opportunities to our residents who work in those businesses  and institutions visited by Arizona residents."

    Arizona's law -- Senate Bill 1070, which has not yet gone into effect -- empowers local law enforcement in Arizona to check the immigration status of suspects they have stopped for other reasons if there is a reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally. It specifically bars police from racial profiling.

    The motion by Yaroslavsky and Molina, while conceding that the national immigration system is "broken," contends the Arizona law "goes too far and should be strongly condemned and universally rejected."

    "It sends a strong message to all immigrants to avoid contact with any law enforcement officer, aggressively discouraging witnesses and victims from reporting crimes and making the entire community less safe," according to the motion. "Also, it diverts scarce resources away from law enforcement. It deters individuals from seeking and obtaining needed emergency and medical care, including services to screen and treat communicable diseases."

    The motion, which will be heard by the full Board of Supervisors Tuesday, would direct the county's chief executive officer to send a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and other state leaders calling for the repeal of the law; suspend all travel to the state for county business unless the travel is considered imperative; banning county investments in Arizona securities such as state or municipal bonds; and review all contracts with Arizona-based or headquartered companies and report on how those contracts can be terminated.

    It would also prevent county departments from entering into any new or amended contracts to purchase goods or services from any company based or headquartered in Arizona.

    The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 on May 12, with Councilman Greig Smith dissenting, to approve an economic boycott of Arizona in hopes of pressuring the state into repealing Senate Bill 1070.

    About 30 people staged a protest at City Hall this week, condemning the council for "irresponsibly" approving the boycott.

    "The state of Arizona is dealing with its own issues," said Gary Aminoff, first vice chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. "It's not up to the City Council of the city of Los Angeles to decide to boycott and cut off funding to Arizona. That only hurts the people of Arizona and does nothing to deal with the issues that the L.A. City Council is ostensibly concerned about."