New Arizona Immigration Law – Will it hurt the economy and cause tourists, businesses to stay away?

I can’t remember so much controversy and anger over an immigration measure like the Arizona law passed in the past few days. The measure — set to take effect in late July or early August — would make it a crime under state law to be in the U.S. illegally. It directs state and local police to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal.

The anger over Arizona’s new law cracking down on illegal immigrants grew stronger today as opponents used refried beans to smear swastikas on the state Capitol, civil rights leaders demanded a boycott of the state, and the Obama administration weighed a possible legal challenge. Immigration lawyers in Arizona are also gearing up to defend clients and take on some new kind of cases.

Under the new Arizona law, immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the U.S. could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500. That is a significant escalation of the typical federal punishment for being here illegally.

People arrested by Arizona police would be turned over to federal immigration officers. Opponents said the federal government could thwart the law by refusing to accept them.

Activists are planning a challenge of their own, hoping to block the law from taking effect by arguing that it encroaches on the federal government’s authority to regulate immigration and violates people’s constitutional rights by giving police too much power.

The White House would not rule out the possibility that the administration would take legal action against Arizona. President Barack Obama, who warned last week that the measure could lead to police abuses, asked the Justice Department to complete a review of the law’s implications before deciding how to proceed.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the law is discriminatory and warned that trade and political ties with Arizona will be seriously strained by the crackdown.

Yet Arizona Governor is living in her own bubble. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer today deflected concerns that the state’s new immigration law will hurt economic development, saying many businesses have long wanted tougher action.

“I believe it’s not going to have the kind of economic impact that some people think that it might,” Brewer, a Republican, said.

Not all Arizona residents are siding with this. Mr. Gordon, Phoenix’s mayor and a Democrat, said his office hopes the City Council will authorize the city to file a lawsuit Tuesday. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera urged policymakers in the city to stop dealing with Arizona and Arizona businesses. Leaders in Mexico and California also demanded a boycott, as did civil rights leader Al Sharpton. More opposition is expected both from inside and outside Arizona.

San Diegans Unite to Oppose Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law
Civil Rights, Faith, Labor and Political Leaders Condemn Race-Baiting SB 1070
A broad and diverse range of faith and civil rights organizations and leaders are joining together to stand up in opposition to the irresponsible and inhumane SB 1070, signed into law in Arizona on Friday. The law turns unlawful presence, which is a federal civil law offense, into a state crime, and requires police to question and arrest people they suspect of being in the country illegally.

Please join our coalition of civil rights groups for a press conference highlighting the following:
· Arizona’s new law threatens the fundamental constitutional rights of border state residents to move freely within the country; the law poses a special threat to the civil rights and liberties of people of color who live in and travel through Arizona.

· Though the law’s proponents claim that race and ethnicity alone cannot be cause for questions about immigration status, public officials are already asserting that illegal immigrants can be identified by the clothes they wear and the way they speak.

· The law also threatens public safety by undermining trust between police and the communities they are charged with protecting; when the police engage in immigration enforcement, community members are less apt to call them when they witness or suffer a crime.

· We need a humane and workable solution, not an irrational response to our broken immigration system; we need solutions that help our country move forward together rather than divide us.

What: Press Conference about Arizona’s Radical Anti-Immigrant Law, SB1070
When: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 1:00 p.m.

Where: University of San Diego, Joan Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice
5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492
Parking spaces are being reserved for media. Volunteers will direct you to them.

Enter through west entrance.

Who: Legal, faith, labor, and community leaders, including:
Bruce Abrams, Chair, San Diego Human Relations Commission
Richard Barrera, President, San Diego Unified School District
Rita Cepeda, President, Mesa College
Sr. RayMonda DuVall, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of San Diego
Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, National United Church of Christ’s Minister for
Racial Justice
Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego
Kevin Keenan, Executive Director, San Diego ACLU
Elizabeth Maldonado, Chair, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
Pedro Rios, Director, San Diego AFSC
Lei-Chala Wilson, President, NAACP of San Diego
See next page for a complete listing of all representatives who will be present.

All Participants
Bruce Abrams, Chair, and Danell Scarborough, San Diego Human Relations Commission
Richard Barrera, President, San Diego Unified School District
Nadia Bermudez, President, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association
Rev. Gerald Brown, United African American Ministerial Action Council
Brigette Browning, President, Unite HERE Local 30
Rita Cepeda, President, Mesa College & Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities
Carmen Chavez, Executive Director, Casa Cornelia Law Center
Norma Chavez Peterson, Director, Justice Overcoming Boundaries
Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice of SD County
Ibrahaim Dayeh & Tyseer Odeh, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Sandra Diaz, Business Representative, SEIU Local 1877
Sr. RayMonda DuVall, Executive Director, Catholic Charities
David Gardenswartz, Executive Committee, and Monica Bauer, Assistant Director,
Anti-Defamation League
Rev. Dr. Jamie Gates, Director, Pt. Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Justice &
Reconciliation and President, Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice of SD County
Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, Minister for Racial Justice and Witness Ministries, National
United Church of Christ
Imam Taha Hassane, Islamic Center of San Diego & Interfaith Committee for Worker
Justice of SD County
Edgar Hopida, Council on American-Islamic Relations
Ginger Jacobs, American Immigration Lawyer Association
Kevin Keenan, Executive Director, San Diego ACLU
Dwight Lomayesva, Executive Director, American Indian Recruitment Program
Elizabeth Maldonado, Chair, San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium
Carlos Marquez, Director of Community Programs and Public Affairs, The San Diego
LGBT Center
Isidro Ortiz, Vice Chair, Education Consortium of San Diego County
Gail Perez, Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, University San Diego
Nicole Murray Ramirez, San Diego Human Relations Commission
Pedro Rios, Director, San Diego AFSC
Rev. Madison Shockley, Pilgrim United Church of Christ & Justice Overcoming
Carmen Spurling, District Director, Office of Congressman Bob Filner
Victor Torres, Spokesperson, El Grupo
Ray Uzeta, Executive Director, Chicano Federation of San Diego County
Lei-Chala Wilson, President, NAACP of San Diego
Peter Zschiesche, Employee Rights Center, San Diego