A Los Angeles City Council committee recommended Friday that the city’s eight-year economic boycott of Arizona over its immigration enforcement polices come to an end.
The council approved the economic boycott in 2010 over Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which was criticized by civil rights groups as unconstitutional because it required local law enforcement officers to investigate the immigration status of persons suspected of being in the county without proper documentation, and allowed them to consider race, color or national origin as a factor in determining whether a person is undocumented, among other provisions.
The economic boycott restricts travel by city employees to the state for city-related business and directs department heads not to enter into contracts with companies headquartered in Arizona when legally and fiscally possible.
But the ban could be coming to an end, as the City Council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee approved an option in a report from the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst that recommends ending the boycott because the courts have ruled against some of the provisions of the law, and because Arizona in 2016 settled a lawsuit brought by some civil rights organizations that moderates SB 1070’s aggressive provisions, which were still allowed by the courts.
The recommendation was approved by the committee without any discussion.
The 2016 settlement Arizona reached with the National Immigration Law Center and other groups included the provision that law enforcement officers are still allowed to inquire about immigration status, but are no longer required to do so. Officers also cannot prolong a stop, detention or arrest solely for the purpose of determining an individual’s immigration status, and may not contact, stop, detain or arrest an individual based on race, color or national origin, except when it is part of a suspect description.
Although the ban was enacted in 2010, it did not bring a stop to all business between the government of L.A. and Arizona. The City Council made several exemptions to the ban, including for the purchase of Tasers and red-light cameras, deeming their purchase necessary for public safety.
The city’s proprietary departments, including the Water and Power and Harbor departments and Los Angeles World Airports, continue to be free to do business with Arizona entities, as the city does not have the authority to direct its proprietary departments to terminate its Arizona contracts or to restrict travel.
Between 2012 and 2015, proprietary departments made $27.3 million in payments to companies with Arizona addresses, according to the CLA report, while the City Council made three travel exemptions during the ban and non-proprietary departments made about $10.7 million in payments. The report notes that just because payments were made to an Arizona address doesn’t mean the company is headquartered there, as it may have a payment center located in the state.
Then-Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she signed SB 1070 because Congress and the White House had failed to secure the border.