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Chief Beck in D.C. over Ariz. immigration law

May 26, 2010 12:01:57 AM PDT
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck was among several chiefs of police who went to Washington, D.C., to voice their objections to Arizona's controversial immigration law.From politics to law enforcement to major league baseball, Arizona's new immigration law has managed to unshuffle the deck. President Obama has responded to the furor by dispatching 1,200 National Guard troops to the border. But the fallout from Arizona State Bill 1070 is spreading far from Phoenix.

In Washington, D.C., Wednesday, police chiefs from dozens of cities large and small met with Attorney General Eric Holder and told him Arizona's new law, and similar proposals in other states, would actually increase crime.

"We told him that we think this type of legislation, in general, not specific to Arizona, but this type of legislation in general makes it harder, not easier, for local law enforcement to do its job," said Charlie Beck.

Beck said the law, which requires Arizona police officers to check the status of people they suspect of being in the country illegally, would break the bond of trust between police and immigrant communities.

Los Angeles and other cities with large immigrant populations have called for a boycott of Arizona. Wednesday, civil rights and activist groups gathered across from Dodger Stadium to urge the ball team to speak out against SB1070.

"We also see a great danger posed by the racial profiling law recently enacted in Arizona. We will fight in the streets and in the courtrooms, ane even in the baseball fields, until we see SB1070 repealed," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

The same groups plan to protest Monday when the Arizona Diamondbacks come to town to play the Dodgers. They say Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick has bankrolled legislators who approved the Arizona law.

But there's pushback now against the boycotts and protests. The city of Hemet Tuesday night voted to support Arizona. And Tony Katz, a gadfly and talk show host, is promoting a "Buy Arizona Weekend."

"You cannot be in favor of boycotting Arizona business. The business owners are the ones who have done nothing wrong," said Tony Katz, All Patriots Media Network. "They are being attacked, and we have to stand up and say, 'We don't do that in this country.' If you want to go after and vote for other politicians in Arizona, knock yourself silly."

The Obama administration says it's studying SB1070 and may challenge it in court, but has yet to take any action. Tuesday night in San Francisco, someone "booed" the president when he mentioned the Arizona law. But then he added this.

The president got praise Wednesday from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over his plan to send National Guard troops to the border. Schwarzenegger issued a statement: "It is encouraging that President Obama is committed to providing more resources to secure the border, and I look forward to seeing the final proposal."

Schwarzenegger says he remembers the National Guard had the last time it was deployed to the border, four years ago.

Arrests along the U.S.-Mexico border are already way down, but it's not clear if that's because of the new law or because of the poor economy in the U.S.


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