State leaders: No economic boycott over Arizona law

Many valley lawmakers don't favor immigration proposal

June 24, 2010 

Lawmakers from the Northern San Joaquin Valley aren't signing on to a resolution that would encourage an economic boycott of Arizona products and services because of the state's anti-illegal immigration law.

Several called the resolution a distraction from pressing decisions on California's budget.

"With a $20 billion deficit that we can't solve, I don't think we should be trying to tell anybody what to do," said Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, R-Ceres.

His brother, Assemblyman Tom Berryhill, R-Oakdale, also opposes the bill.

Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, proposed the resolution and has support from 44 lawmakers who have signed on as co-sponsors.

It urges the California Public Employees Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System to refrain from making new investments in Arizona, discourages Major League Baseball from holding the 2011 All Star game in Phoenix and asks California businesses to boycott Arizona.

Cedillo is targeting a law that asks local and state police to check the immigration status of people they pull over if they have reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. In practice, critics say, the law encourages racial profiling against Latinos.

Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, opposes the Arizona law, but isn't supporting Cedillo's resolution. She's running for the Senate seat held by Republican Jeff Denham of Atwater.

"Our biggest issue in the state of California is not worrying about what our neighbor is doing, it's about getting our budget under control," Caballero said.

Her opponent, Republican Anthony Cannella of Ceres, also is against the Arizona law. Both say the measure could discourage people from cooperating with law enforcement officers. Cannella, too, opposes an Arizona boycott.

Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, could not be reached for comment about Cedillo's resolution Thursday.

Other valley lawmakers back Arizona's efforts to restrict illegal immigration. They include Denham and Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto.

"A 'You boycott me, I'll boycott you' scenario is a risk California cannot afford to take," Denham said. "Arizona has every right to protect its citizens, and I fully support its immigration law."

Cogdill regards Arizona's law as a sign of Washington's failure to enact effective immigration reform.

"Instead of having states pass a patchwork of laws aimed at stopping people from illegally crossing our borders, the federal government needs to immediately step up to its responsibility to stop the illegal flow of human trafficking, guns and drugs across our borders," Cogdill said.

Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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