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Arizona Under Pressure

Boulder joins other US cities, imposes travel boycott on Arizona

Glorianne Scott  May 06, 2010

Employees of the City of Boulder will no longer be traveling to Arizona for business, City Manager Jane Brautigam announced today, as a show of the city's opposition to the recent immigration legislation passed in that state.

The controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1070 has sparked protests across the country and in Colorado. The bill gives law enforcement expansive powers in an effort to crack down on illegal immigration. Supporters say the new law provides local law enforcement with much-needed tools to enforce current laws. Immigrant-rights groups, including the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), say the measure unfairly targets minorities and encourages racial profiling. The CIRC website points out:

This law requires police verify the immigration status of anyone they have reasonable suspicion is undocumented and arrest anyone who can't immediately prove their status. Yet there are no outwardly distinguishable differences between an undocumented immigrant and a citizen, requiring police use racial profiling to draw their conclusions."

Some of these concerns were addressed with Arizona's House Bill 2162, passed within a week of SB 1070, which stated that law enforcement officers "may not consider race, color or national origin" when enforcing the law.

Both supporters and opponents of the legislation have complained about the ambiguous language in the bill, leading to questions about how to enforce it. The controversy has certainly reignited the debate about immigration in this country, and liberal Boulder was quick to show which side of the issue it is on. City Manager Brautigam says of the bill: “Such a policy is contrary to Boulder’s commitment to diversity and is a violation of our community’s core values.”

It is unknown what the effect, if any, of Boulder's boycott will have on Arizona's tourism industry, but Boulder is one of many U.S. cities imposing a travel boycott. Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, called for an end to the "counterproductive" boycotts which "hold[s] an industry and its 300,000 employees hostage to politics." For those embroiled in the immigration debate, "hostage to politics" seems an appropriate term.

Boulder joins other US cities, imposes travel boycott on Arizona
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