4 More Mass. Municipalities Eye Arizona Boycott

Four more Massachusetts municipalities are considering resolutions calling for an economic boycott against Arizona in protest of the state's recently passed controversial immigration law.

Elected officials in Worchester, Lawrence, Springfield, and Amherst say they are drafting measures similar to the one Boston's City Council passed last week that asks city officials to identify city contracts and purchasing agreements with Arizona and Arizona-based companies, and end them immediately.

The Worcester City Council is scheduled Tuesday to vote on its resolution. Councilors in Lawrence and Springfield are drafting their measures and a member of the Amherst town meeting plans on asking the body to also take up the cause.

The Arizona law enacted last month requires police to question people about their immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally. The law has drawn anger and protest nationally over concerns it would lead to racial profile of Latinos in the state.

Last week, a coalition of national Latino groups called for a boycott of Arizona over the law and the Phoenix Suns wore their "Los Suns" jersey in the Western Conference semifinal matchup against the San Antonio Spurs in protest over the law.

Worcester Councilor Frederick Rushton said he decided to sponsor a resolution after hearing the "racial overtones" of critics angry at Boston's decision to pass its measure.

"People expressing racial comments is an unfortunate side effect of all of this," said Rushton. "(But) we feel this is racial profiling and it needs to be addressed. We need to take a stand."

Rushton compared the efforts to the boycott movement in the 1980s against South Africa under apartheid. "Deinvestment works," he said.

But Sam Rosario, a Worcester activist and talk show host on 830 WCRN-AM, said the Arizona resolutions in Massachusetts are largely symbolic and do nothing to help Latinos who legally reside here.

"Arizona is doing what's right for Arizona," Rosario said. "Worcester should do what's right for Worcester."

Rosario said it was "hypocritical" that city councilors would support the Arizona resolution when they've been resistant to supporting changes to city ordinances that would help livery cab drivers, most of who are Latino immigrants.

Ken Mandile, president of the Worcester Tea Party, said Tea Party members plan to protest outside of Worcester City Hall and some will try to address councilors before their vote.

"We think this is an abuse of power by the city council," he said. "This really isn't their business."

Giovanna Negretti, executive director of Oiste?, a Massachusetts group that encourages Latinos to run for office, said supporters of Worcester's resolution also plan to attend Tuesday's meeting and will support other city councils that seeks to pass a similar resolution against Arizona.

"This is not about resolving what is happening in Arizona," said Negretti. "We have to speak out or Arizona-like laws could spread like wildfire across the United States."

This program aired on May 10, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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