Governor: Boycotts disappointing but won't change new law

2010-05-06T00:00:00Z Governor: Boycotts disappointing but won't change new lawHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer emphasized Wednesday that Arizona won't back away from its tough new law aimed at illegal immigrants even if boycotts take business from the state.

She said she is disappointed and surprised at the reaction - much of it from other states - and the calls to impose economic sanctions on Arizona.

"How could further punishing families and businesses, large and small, be a solution viewed as constructive?" she asked.

Brewer was speaking publicly at a summit of Arizona manufacturers, as were legislative leaders. A participant told them customers are threatening to boycott.

"This is all about illegal immigration and we need to get our borders secured," Brewer said, adding: "Even if it means loss of business."

She said just the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who have violated state laws costs taxpayers $100 million a year.

The governor said she has personally not heard any company express concerns about moving to Arizona in the wake of national publicity about the law.

But there have been inquiries about the new law at the Department of Commerce, the state agency charged with trying to persuade firms to move or expand in Arizona.

"We've received a fairly balanced response from businesses both concerned and supportive," said agency spokesman David Drennon, though he said the total volume has not been great.

"None of the businesses that we have been working to attract to the state have made decisions not to come here," Drennon said. He said that, for most firms, the state's competitive and cost advantages "weigh greater" than the political fallout.

Still, firms are concerned, at least about public appearance, Drennon said.

"The only comment we have heard is that a decision to locate here may be quieter than the typical fanfare that generally surrounds these project decisions," he said.

Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who wrote the legislation, said those threatening to cut ties to Arizona businesses "are on the wrong side."

"We have a buy-cott going on nationally. It's going to backfire on them," he said.

Pearce said he has "hundreds of e-mails that are canceling contracts in other states and are going to do business exclusively with Arizona."

THE LATEST BOYCOTT DEVELOPMENTS:

• The Boston City Council approved a resolution Wednesday by voice vote. It urges the Massachusetts city to curtail economic ties with Arizona by pulling investments, ending city contracts, stopping official city travel here and halting purchasing agreements.

• Oakland, California's City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve a boycott of Arizona. City officials will review contracts with Arizona-based businesses and not enter new ones; and not travel here on business.

• Boulder, Colorado's city manager suspended all city-sponsored travel to Arizona on Wednesday, saying the new immigration law violates Boulder's "core values." The city will also scrutinize ways it does business with Arizona companies.

THE STORY SO FAR

The most controversial part of the law known as SB 1070, set to take effect July 29, requires police to check the status of those they reasonably suspect of being in this country illegally.

Critics say it will lead to racial profiling; supporters say the U.S. government has failed to secure the borders.

Governments including San Francisco's City Council and Denver's public school district board voted to boycott Arizona travel. The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association says 19 meetings scheduled for the state were canceled, at a projected cost to the state of $6 million-plus, in the first week after the bill was signed into law.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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