St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announces Arizona travel boycott

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Calling Arizona's new hardline anti-immigrant law "a dangerous example for the rest of the country," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said today he's ordering a boycott of all city-paid travel to the state.

Signed into law by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, the legislation "will create a culture where racial profiling is acceptable," Coleman said in a statement. "It would be immoral to not stand up in the face of a piece of legislation that is rooted in hate and fear."

Basically, the law tell Arizona cops to arrest anyone they think might have come into the country illegally and who can't produce documentation on the spot to prove otherwise -- a thankless task previously handled by the Border Patrol and federal immigration agents.

In a state with a huge Latino population -- and a lot of folks who are in the country illegally -- exactly how would untrained cops tell the difference before slapping on the hand cuffs?

The anti-immigrant crowd is gushing over the law, of course, but its passage is roiling the state, angering Mexico and splitting the GOP.

In the case of Sen. John McCain, it's splitting his family.

The senator, who played a pivotal role in advancing comprehensive immigration reform during George W. Bush's second term, is in a tough re-election bid, challenged by a border control hardliner. In a textbook case of political calculation he's come out in favor of the law.

Meanwhile, his daughter, Meghan, no shrinking violet when it comes to conservative causes, calls the law "a license to discriminate."

(Update: Both Republicans running for Minnesota governor said today they support the law.)

The Mexican government is urging U.S.-bound shoppers to avoid Arizona or prepare for unprovoked harassment by police. The governor of Sonora has called off an important cross-border tourism and trade meeting for the first time in 50 years, and Aeromexico has canceled flights to Phoenix.

Here's the text of Coleman's press release:

Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman took a stand today, ordering City departments to no longer travel to conferences in the State of Arizona. Coleman issued the order today in solidarity with other cities and organizations in boycotting the State of Arizona in protest of the recent signing of SB1070 by Governor Jan Brewer.

"This law sets a dangerous example for the rest of the country. It will create a culture where racial profiling is acceptable, and will create a dangerous wedge between police officers and the communities they serve. We've seen what can be done through partnering with immigrant communities and its effects on issues such as domestic violence rates, violent crime, and overall community safety.

It would be immoral to not stand up in the face of a piece of legislation that is rooted in hate and fear. We are a country of immigrants - and SB 1070 is an affront to our constitution and the values we hold dear as Americans. It's not worthy of who we are as a people - and it's certainly not worthy of the investment of any city dollars being spent in Arizona.

I can't imagine what it would have been like for my grandmother had they passed a similar anti-Irish law. Today I choose to stand with the millions of immigrants in our City and across the country who should have access to the same level of safety and opportunity as everyone else."

Coleman also noted that he would write to the chairmen of both the DNC and the RNC to encourage them to not choose Phoenix, a contender for their national conventions, in 2012.


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