St. Paul strikes back against Arizona immigration bill

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Political posturing or effective economic tool?

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman today announced a ban on travel by city employees to Arizona. It’s a reaction to the new law in Arizona, requiring people to prove their citizenship on demand.

Here’s the full 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 signage 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.

How many St. Paul employees travel to Arizona for conventions and conferences? The mayor’s deputy chief of staff says he’s currently researching that, and also any contracts between the city and Arizona businesses.

“It’s a really poor strategy,” Barry Broome, chief executive of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council said. But he wasn’t talking about St. Paul, but about a move by some California lawmakers to bar any state contracts with businesses in Arizona. That would be bad news for Minnesota-based businesses like Target and the Mayo Clinic — two of Arizona’s largest employers.

But Arizona officials clearly are concerned about boycotts nationwide. Sen. John McCain said the state has to “sell” the new law better.

“We have to show any visitors — whether it be for the All-Star Game or someone who wants to go to the Grand Canyon — that we will observe and enforce their civil rights and make sure they don’t feel threatened here,” McCain said today.

The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association has set up a “Don’t Boycott Arizona” Facebook page. It says a boycott will only hurt hotel and tourism employees.

  • Kim E

    McCain: “We have to show any visitors — whether it be for the All-Star Game or someone who wants to go to the Grand Canyon — that we will observe and enforce their civil rights and make sure they don’t feel threatened here.”

    Apparently it doesn’t matter if undocumented immigrants or people who look like undocumented immigrants feel threatened.

    I don’t know if Mayor Coleman’s strategy will work, but at least it got Arizona’s attention.

  • Jeffrey Lee

    Mayor Colemen — this is a dumb move on your part. This is not a racial issue, this is an enforcement issue. The Federal Government is not doing their part to enforce the law so the state of Arizona will. Too bad Minnesota doesn’t step up to the plate and address this issue in a similar manner.

  • Roy

    I am a true American, having servied my country in Desert Storm and with a viable Historical ancestry in California longer than most white American’s, I understand the need to secure our Country, I fought for my country and would do it again, but, this is personal. My children, because they look mexican will always be looked suspiciously when traveling to Arizona, that is why I will not buy, nor support anything coming out of Arizona. This is not the American I fought for in Desert Storm and those that support it must be non-Americans and are using this bill as an excuse to be racist against anybody that looks Mexican. Wow. WW11 Germany in America????

  • Kassie

    Coleman says: It would be immoral to not stand up in the face of a piece of legislation that is rooted in hate and fear.

    Isn’t any law that prohibits gays from marrying legislation that is “rooted in hate and fear”? I’d like to see Coleman boycott those places too, like the State of Minnesota.

    (and I’m all for this boycott, but if he is going to use that wording he should stand by it.)

  • Don

    Dear Mayor Colemen

    If I am suspected of committing a crime the police ask me for my identification and I produce it. When I pay for something with a check or credit card I am asked for my identification and I produce it. I am a white person like you are and we must be racially profiled. If the police in AZ suspect a hispanic of committing a crime by being in this country illegelly they should have the right to ask for identification. It just so happens that most of the people that are in this country illegelly in Az are hispanics.

  • Curtis Smith

    Good for Arizona. I hope Texas is next. The Mexicans are breaking the law. What makes them any better than anyone else

  • Allen Galliart

    A number of “undocumented aliens” living in Arizona have stated their intentions to move our of AZ if SB1070 is upheld by the courts. They have further stated that they do not intend to return to Mexico. Can they be informed that they will be accepted with open arms in St Paul?

    Dr G Tempe AZ

  • Chris

    Seriously? Anti-Irish laws? Perhaps you’ve never seen the pictures of store-fronts- IRISH NEED NOT APPLY. And guess what- they came here legally! It’s not about immigration, it’s about illegalilty! So if my 14 year old cousin wants to drive a car without a license, let him. Obviously the word illegal doesn’t mean anything. The Irish and countelss European immigrants who came here LEGALLY were forced to live on the streets and make it on their own. These illegal immigrants are greeted with a driver’s license, keys to an apartment, and a welfare check that comes out of our tax dollars. If it’s illegal, it’s a crime. Lock them all up and ship ‘em out.

  • Jeff Kline

    I’m afraid that Mr Coleman can get himself into serious trouble with this.

    He cannot make a travel ban to anyone for any reason in reality.

    He can say no travel to Arizona on “company time” so to speak. That would be possibly legitimate.

    However if I’m a city employee, and I have family in Arizona; and I travel there to visit my family and loose my job, this would incite a lawsuit of huge proportions.

    I’m sick and tired of folks trying to assert themselves over everyone’s liberties. I have a rule. If you plan on asserting yourself and hence denying my freedom and liberty; stand up, and say it. This way, those of us who stand for freedom, liberty, the constitution, the bill of rights, the flag, and all that; can then take you out of office and power. This is not a communist nation.

    This land belongs to the people, not the government. Lets make sure we get that right folks!!!