D.C. council to consider Arizona resolution
The D.C. Council plans to take up a resolution as early as next Tuesday calling on the city government to stop doing business with the state of Arizona because of that state’s recently enacted immigration reform law.
Although the final language of the resolution is still to be fine-tuned, a draft circulated by Hispanic activists Tuesday calls on both the city government and the employee pension fund to divest from “any companies that originate out of Arizona or that do business with Arizona.” But some council members may work to limit the boycott to only that state's government.
“Anything where government is sponsoring any sort of profiling that I believe is racist, we have to take a stand against as the nation’s capital,” said council member Michael Brown (I-At large), who plans to introduce the resolution next Tuesday.
It’s unclear how much business the District does with Arizona, but council leaders and Hispanic activists say the District needs to send a signal it doesn’t agree with the state’s immigration law.
"This is important to do because we cannot allow discrimination at any level," said Juan Carlos Ruiz, director of the Latino Federation of Greater Washington. "This is a time when the country needs unity, and what (Arizona) is doing is targeting Mexican and Central Americans. We cannot stand by and do nothing about it."
On Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom banned most city workers from traveling to Arizona on official business. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is also expected to consider a broader boycott of Arizona-based companies.
The liberal D.C. council is not one to shy away from contentious national political debates, but given congressional oversight it sometimes has to pick and choose its battles. But Ruiz said he’s optimistic the 13-member council will approve the boycott, noting that city leaders also spoke up in the 1980s when Arizona refused to recognize Martin Luther King Day.
Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) called the Arizona law “a crime against civil rights.”
“We view that very, very seriously," Graham said. "There is no question about it; I would want to carefully and sympathetically consider" a possible resolution.
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