San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today imposed a moratorium on city employee travel to the state of Arizona for official business and announced the creation of a task force to determine how best to extricate the city from its Arizona-related contracts.
The actions are in response to a new anti-immigration measure signed into law last week by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and come one day after San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued a statement calling the law “draconian” and criticized the state for choosing “to isolate itself from the rest of the nation.”
The moratorium is effective immediately as the mayor and others are considering an official city boycott of the state and take steps “to develop a smart and effect boycott that sends the appropriate message to Arizona while protecting the city’s financial interests,” Newsom said in a prepared statement.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Newsom’s challenger in the November race for the state’s lieutenant governor, said she will introduce a resolution calling on the city of Los Angeles to boycott the state of Arizona.
Supervisor David Campos also introduced emergency legislation at today’s board meeting calling for a citywide boycott of the state and Arizona-based businesses because the law “will inevitably lead to racial profiling,” the resolution reads.
Campos’ resolution cautions that under the Arizona law, anyone who looks remotely Latino will be a primary target for enforcement.
The controversial Arizona law makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally and requires police officers to question, “when practicable,” those they “reasonably suspect” are illegal immigrants.
Under the new law, even lawful foreign residents would be committing a crime by failing to carry immigration documents, and it would be illegal to stop on a public street to negotiate the hire of day laborers.
In order to work out details regarding the extent of such a boycott, Newsom announced the formation of the Arizona Boycott Workgroup, which brings together the city controller, purchaser and treasurer along with members of the city attorney’s office, among others.
Chaired by Newsom’s chief of staff Steve Kawa, the workgroup will be tasked with developing “smart and effective” recommendations that the city can implement through ordinances.
In Sacramento, leaders are calling for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to do everything legally possible to sever California’s economic ties with Arizona until the law is repealed.
Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg requested that no new contracts be negotiated and that the state study the legality of breaking existing contracts.
“I think we have a moral obligation to deliver an unequivocal message to lawmakers in Arizona that California does not condone its conduct,” Steinberg wrote in a letter to the governor. “The Arizona law is as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional, and the state of California should not be using taxpayer dollars to support such a policy.”