Monday, May 03, 2010

Milwaukee Considers Arizona Travel Ban

MILWAUKEE – When the Milwaukee Common Council meets Tuesday, Aldermen may consider a controversial proposal to boycott certain Arizona businesses because of that state’s new immigration law.

Supporters say the Arizona law helps law enforcement officers deal with illegal immigration. However, critics say the law encourages racial profiling. A draft of the Milwaukee resolution was introduced Monday. It calls for city employees to stop traveling to Arizona for conventions or other events. It also prevents the city from making “investments in financial institutions with companies based in or having a major presence in the State of Arizona.” Alderman Jim Witkowiak sponsored the measure, which also includes language to encourage the federal government to take action on immigration reform issues. Witkowiak said he was angry about the Arizona law. “Basically, what they’re proposing leaves the door open for possible racial profiling which is a thing of the past and I hope never gets resurrected,” he said. Witkowiak has the support of Voces de la Frontera, an advocacy group that sponsored a rally in Milwaukee on Saturday to denounce the Arizona law. “Sometimes, unfortunately, it does take hitting people in the pocket book to really get them to do the right thing,” said Voces de la Frontera executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz. However, most alderman oppose the boycott portion of the resolution. “I think we need to take a better look at this before we decide to boycott it,” said Alderman Robert Puente. Mayor Tom Barrett also said he opposed the resolution. “We would be punishing people in Arizona who had no part of this. Instead, I’m going to put my resources and my energy into trying to urge the Federal government to address the immigration issue,” Barrett said. Late Monday, Witkowiak said he was considering revising the resolution to remove the sections about boycotting certain Arizona businesses. He indicated there was enough support on the common council to pass a resolution encouraging the federal government to take action but said there were not enough votes to pass economic sanctions against Arizona businesses.

1 comment:

  1. Hey You!3.5.10

    The real flaw in the logic here is that some folks believe that the violence and illegal activity is due to undocumented workers. In reality, violent crime is down in Arizona but the media and the hard-liners in AZ make sure that if an undocumented worker is involved, it's big news, but the facts are that violent crime has slowed in the last few years in AZ. The law passed isn't going to stop the real problem which are drug runners and smugglers, It isn't even going to slow them down.

    There was a great article in the LA Times featuring an interview with an ex-Phoenix cop who had to deal with these issues. (

    And he said it very plainly after a white cop was killed: "I told people that it's not whites or Hispanics who killed Marc," he said back then. "It's drug-dealing cop killers. The issue isn't ethnicity — it's crime and drugs."

    And this is the real problem with this law is that it doesn't address the real issue, at all.