A day before Tacoma’s council is set to consider a similar resolution, the Seattle City Council today unanimously approved a measure that, among other things, calls for a boycott of business with and travel to Arizona due to that state’s tough new law cracking down on illegal immigration.
The measure, sponsored by Seattle Councilwoman Sally Clark, calls for federal-level immigration reform while ” denouncing Arizona State Senate Bill 1070 as a step in the wrong direction, and requesting that City Departments refrain from sending City employees to the State of Arizona and refrain from entering into new contracts with businesses headquartered in the State of Arizona,” according to the council’s agenda.
“Seattle today, with this vote, would join with a host of other cities that are trying to get the attention of the federal government,” Clark said. “…There’s no doubt that Arizona is struggling and many states are struggling with the impact of a broken immigration system. Seattle struggles with it.”
Clark said the “main problem with the Arizona law … is the position it puts local law enforcement in.”
“We do not want to put local law enforcement in the position of being the immigration police,” said Clark, who noted prospective laws such as Arizona’s could deter illegal immigrants from reporting crimes, seeking health care or taking other actions that could affect the community at large.
“If you’re afraid to call 911, you’re endangering the entire community,” Clark said.
Along with Clark, other Seattle council members said the primary thrust of the measure is to get the federal government to tackle comprehensive immigration reform. The measure should not be seen as an attack on the state of Arizona, Councilman Nick Licata said.
“I’ll end it by saying I’m very, very proud of this council,” said Council president Bruce Harrell. “That says it all.”
The council chamber broke out in applause following the unanimous vote.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn supports the council’s measure and will sign it, according to council members. Councilwoman Sally Bagshaw added that both of Washington’s US Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, support the Seattle council’s measure.
Other cities, including San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, among them, have passed similar boycott proposals.
The Tacoma City Council is set to consider a similar resolution, sponsored by Councilmembers Ryan Mello and Lauren Walker, at its council meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. Response to TNT coverage and an online poll about the Tacoma measure has overwhelmingly opposed it.