Martinez: City’s Boycott Sends “Strong Message” to Arizona About Immigration Law

Mary Tuma, Impact News (Austin), May 13, 2010

A unanimous vote by Austin City Council on Thursday effectively ended all of the city government’s business-related travel to and investment with the State of Arizona. The resolution, sponsored by Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, comes in response to the Arizona’s controversial immigration bill that compels law enforcement officers to detain people if they have “reasonable suspicion” they are in the country illegally.

Martinez underscored that the city will sever ties with the state, but not individual businesses. Currently, Austin has no contracts or investments with the Arizona government.

With the exception of emergency-related events, city employees will no longer travel to Arizona for educational training, like conferences or technical assistance. This year, 45 employees traveled to Arizona, and five will head there during May. According to a city memo, these commitments were made prior to passage of the immigration law.

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Tim Lucas, an opponent to the council’s resolution, said Arizona had taken a proactive step to enforce valid laws that federal authorities are not.

“I think more of this country needs to stand behind Arizona on this,” said Lucas, a resident of both Austin and Arizona. “It is getting out of control there with kidnapping and crime. What is happening there is going to happen here soon, and people will regret not supporting the law.”

Members of the Austin Immigrants Rights Coalition were present to show their support for the council. {snip}

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