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L.A. Councilwoman Hahn calls for boycott of Arizona after recent passage of tough immigration law

April 27, 2010 | 10:33 am

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn waded into the national debate over illegal immigration Tuesday, announcing that she intends to call for the city to boycott the state of Arizona in response to a newly passed law requiring immigrants to show proof of citizenship.

Hahn, who is running for lieutenant governor, said she would ask her colleagues on the council to take steps that would require all city departments – including the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports and the Department of Water and Power – to end any contracts with Arizona-based companies and stop doing business with the state.

The proposal will be introduced during Tuesday’s council meeting and debated on May 4, according to a statement issued by Hahn.

Arizona lawmakers recently passed legislation that would make it a crime to be in the state illegally and requires law enforcement officers to check the legal status of those they suspect are undocumented. The legislation would also bar people from soliciting work or hiring workers under certain circumstances.

Hahn’s proposal drew fire from former mayoral candidate Walter Moore, who unsuccessfully pushed for a ballot measure to allow the Los Angeles Police Department to arrest, deport, prosecute and imprison gang members who are in the country illegally, even if they are not accused of another crime.

Moore said the council should address a projected $485-million budget shortfall before taking a stand on laws in other states.

“They can’t even balance their books and yet they can issue edicts about far-flung jurisdictions,” he said. Moore voiced support for one part of Arizona’s law but called some of its provisions “counterproductive.”

The Arizona legislation, which was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday, has created a national firestorm as opponents and supporters bill it as the nation’s toughest law against illegal immigrants. Brewer cast the law in terms of public safety, saying, "We cannot sacrifice our safety to the murderous greed of drug cartels."

Brewer said she would order the state police training agency to form guidelines to train officers to protect against racial profiling.

But President Obama has denounced the measure as “misguided.”

Obama signaled that a legal showdown might be possible and that his administration would "examine the civil rights and other implications" of the law. Department of Justice officials said they "were reviewing the bill" but declined to discuss the legislation further.

Immigrant rights groups have vowed a court fight, arguing that regulating immigration is a federal matter.

Unless opponents can stop it with lawsuits, the law will take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends this month or in May.

--David Zahniser