D.C. Council holds off on Arizona boycott -- for now
The D.C. Council is holding off on taking a public stand on Arizona's controversial new immigration law that makes it easier for police to stop those believed to be in the country illegally.
Last week, amid the national debate over the law, local Hispanic activists requested that the council take up a resolution this week calling for a citywide boycott of Arizona and Arizona-based businesses. They convinced council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) to sponsor the resolution, which was partly modeled after a similar one pending before the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors.
But Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said today that the resolution will not placed on the agenda for Tuesday's council meeting, although he added that it could still be brought up at a later date.
"I think there will be continuing discussions. I'd rather wait and see what we propose to do," Gray said. "I think there are lots of people who find what happened in Arizona reprehensible. The question is, what is the appropriate action for the D.C. Council to take?"
On Friday, the president of the American Hotel and Lodging Association sent Gray a letter decrying efforts on the council to launch a citywide boycott of Arizona, noting that the state's hospitality industry employs 52,000 people.
"Do the council members know - or care - that they are hurting lower-income workers in Arizona when it pushes something like a 'boycott' proposal through its chambers?" wrote Joseph A. McInerney, president of the AHLA. "The Washington D.C. area is fortunate that we have the federal government to help supply local employment and economic opportunity. ... Arizona is not so fortunate."
McInerney then pointedly asked Gray how he and other liberal council members would feel "if the situation were reversed."
"What if Arizona citizens did not travel to Washington D.C., or host meetings in the city, because the members of the Arizona legislature did not like the city's 5 cent bag recycling tax, or allowing gay marriage?" McInerney asked. "Do we really want to set that type of precedent in the nation's capital city?"
-- Tim Craig
Washington Post Editors
May 3, 2010; 12:07 PM ET
Categories: City Life , D.C. Council , Tim Craig , Vincent C. Gray | Tags: Arizona, Immigration law, Michael A. Brown, Washington DC
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