San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today a moratorium on official city travel to Arizona after the state enacted a controversial new immigration law that directs local police to arrest those suspected of being in the country illegally.
The ban on city employee travel to Arizona takes effect immediately, although there are some exceptions, including for law enforcement officials investigating a crime, officials said. It’s unclear how many planned trips by city workers will be curtailed.
The move comes amid a cascade of criticism of Arizona’s law, which has been denounced by civil rights groups, some police officials and President Obama, who said it threatens to “undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans.” Legal challenges are being weighed to overturn it.
San Francisco’s move comes as the Board of Supervisors introduced non-binding resolutions calling for comprehensive immigration reform and a boycott of Arizona because of the new law, which requires police to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. There are also online boycott campaigns calling for everything from a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team to the Grand Canyon.
The law is popular with many in Arizona, whose border with Mexico is the site of more illegal crossings than any other in the nation. Supporters say in the wake of a failed federal immigration policy, the law will reduce crime. Opponents, including San Francisco Police Department Chief George Gascón, say it will have the opposite effect, deterring victims and witnesses of violent crime from coming forward out fear of being arrested as an illegal immigrant.
Supervisor David Campos and City Attorney Dennis Herrera have called for a boycott of Arizona and businesses based there. If the resolution passes, Herrera will try to identify contracts with Arizona companies that could be legally terminated.
Newsom, while blasting the Arizona law as “unacceptable,” has expressed skepticism about unintended consequences from a city-instituted boycott, including opening up San Francisco to lawsuits if it includes rescinding already-awarded contracts. He also questioned what companies it would cover.
To address those questions, the mayor today convened a taskforce that includes representatives from the City Attorney’s Office, Controller, city purchasing office and his chief of staff to look at a “smart and effective” targeted boycott, Newsom spokesman Tony Winnicker said.
The recommendations from that group will form the basis of a proposed ordinance that would be binding on the city if approved by the board and signed by the mayor, Winnicker said.
Filed under: Civil Liberties, DHS, Immigration, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex, Privacy Tagged: | Arizona, Civil Liberties, civil rights, David Campos, Dennis Herrera, fascism, Gavin Newsom, George Gascón, human rights, immigrant, Latino, Mexico, police state, racism, San Francisco, San Francisco Police Department, Tony Winnicker