About 75 activists rallied Tuesday outside LA City Hall in response to the Los Angeles City Council's vote to boycott Arizona because of its immigration law -- Senate Bill 1070.
Basically, a protest of a protest.
"We're not going to stand for it," said protester Tony Katz. "We want a safe, lawful Los Angeles, we believe in a safe and lawful Arizona, and we believe in strong borders and we believe in a strong America."
The Los Angeles City Council on May 12 voted 13-1, with Councilman Greig Smith dissenting, to approve an economic boycott of Arizona in hopes of pressuring the state into repealing SB 1070 .
The law, which has not gone into effect, empowers local law enforcement 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.
"We feel that the City Council took the action of boycotting Arizona irresponsibly," said Gary Aminoff, one of the rally's organizers and the first vice chairman of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County. "The state of Arizona is dealing with its own issues. 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."
"This is really about the City Council making a statement to curry favor with Latino voters in Los Angeles," Aminoff told the Los Angeles Times. "The City Council should consider the views of its constituents before making decisions."
Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the co-author of the boycott motion with Councilman Ed Reyes, said Senate Bill 1070 encourages "the harassment of an entire ethnicity of people based on the color of their skin."
"We know that people are frustrated about illegal immigration but we on the City Council do not feel like (Arizona's new immigration law) is the right way to address this frustration," Hahn said. "We believe it targets a certain segment of our population and we believe it could target American citizens. We know the federal government needs to take up immigration reform, but we think this law targets American citizens who may look a certain way."
Other promoters who have come forward are the San Fernando Valley Republican Club, San Fernando Valley Tea Party, Westside Tea Party and the LA County Republican Party along with Young Republican Federation of California. Talk radio host T.J. McCormack also was at the event.
The demonstration began on the South Lawn at about 9 a.m. Aminoff said he expected the boycott protesters will be accused of racism.
"What we're going to try to explain... is this has nothing to do with race, color of skin, country of origin, language or color of hair," Aminoff told City News Service. "It has to do with a law and order issue of people who come here illegally and abuse the system. We wouldn't care if the 12 to 15 million illegals in this country were Swedish -- we would still oppose illegal immigration."
Aminoff called Senate Bill 1070 "a restatement of the federal law" and "closely duplicates" Section 834b of California's Penal Code, which calls for every law enforcement agency in the state to attempt to verify whether an arrestee is legally in the country.
According to California Penal Code Section 834b, law enforcement shall do the following: Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the U.S. the verification process may include... questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.
SB 1070's opponents show "a lack of trust in Arizona's police officers that feel they would intentionally profile by race," Aminoff said.
Organizers said they expect a few hundred people to attend the protest.
According to a statement from the Young Republican Federation of California: "The City of Los Angeles has turned out to be a sanctuary city where illegal immigrants are free to enter, to live, to use our social services and will never be challenged. We think it is inappropriate and did not make economic sense for the City Council to boycott Arizona. We also think that the City Council... took the position they did to pander to Latino voters rather than an issue of right or wrong."
Aminoff said he does not think the council will rescind the boycott because of the protest, whose organizers also include the L.A. Tea Party.
"What we want to do is bring a message to the City Council there are many people in the city of Los Angeles who do not agree with their decision to boycott Arizona," Aminoff said.
The Southern California Immigration Coalition announced they will be participating in their own protest. The group is organizing bus rides to Phoenix for a national protest Saturday. The coalition says the law "attacks immigrant workers."
Those buses leave downtown Friday night.