- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 6, 2010

Opponents of Arizona’s tough new immigration law marked Cinco de Mayo with a flurry of protests, boycotts and threatened legal challenges, but a poll released Wednesday found that a majority of Arizonans support the measure.

Angered by the measure they say will result in racial profiling and discrimination, a coalition of powerful civil rights and labor unions announced a tourism and economic boycott of Arizona.

The groups, which include the National Council of La Raza, the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, say they will boycott the state until the law is either repealed or rejected by the courts.

The Boston City Council approved a resolution calling for the city to pull its investments from Arizona and cancel trips there by city employees, and the state’s NBA franchise, the Phoenix Suns, planned to wear “LosSuns” on their jerseys in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Wednesday night. Suns owner Robert Sarver made the decision to honor “our Latin community.”

Arizonans remain unbowed.

A Rocky Mountain Poll conducted by the Behavior Research Center and released Wednesday found that 52 percent of Arizonans support the measure, with 39 percent opposed and the rest undecided.

The Arizona law requires noncitizens to carry proof of their status, which is also a federal law. State and local police are also required to ask suspected illegal immigrants for identification during the enforcement of another law - for example, speeding or loitering.

Supporters of Arizona’s immigration law say police need more tools to combat the upswing in drug and human smuggling from Mexico. Their arguments received a boost Tuesday night as Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu released more details about the April 30 shooting of a deputy by suspected Mexico-based drug dealers.

Deputy Louie Puroll was grazed by two bullets in a shootout while tracking drug smugglers in the open desert. He was ambushed by six gunmen wielding AK-47 assault rifles, all of whom are still at large, although four people deemed “investigative leads” are in custody, said Sheriff Babeu.

The shooting comes not long after the March 27 slaying of rancher Rob Krentz on his property near the Mexican border by suspected drug smugglers whose footprints led back to Mexico

“The horrendous violence we see by narco-terrorists is uncontrolled, and our own federal government refuses to fulfill its responsibility to secure our border,” Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the immigration law April 23, said in response to the latest shooting.

In Phoenix, the Rev. Al Sharpton headlined a Wednesday night candelight procession and rally at the Capitol against the immigration law. He was joined by actor Danny Glover and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, whose efforts to sue the state over the immigration law have thus far failed to win the support of the City Council.

“When some attempt to racially profile groups of people and legalize bigotry, it’s time to take action,” said Mr. Sharpton on the National Action Network website. “For Hispanics, it’s today, and tomorrow, it could be you.”

The Arizona cities of Flagstaff and Tucson have announced plans to file lawsuits against the state, citing the costs of enforcing the law and the financial hit on the tourism industry. At least four other lawsuits challenging the law were filed last week by individuals and private organizations.

Even so, at least three other states are considering introducing similar legislation. In the Arizona Republican primary, both Sen. John McCain and his challenger, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, have come out strongly in favor of the law, a sure sign that it continues to be a winner with Republican voters.

Americans for America, a liberal political-action committee, launched three Cinco de Mayo radio ads denouncing the law. One ad targets Mr. McCain, calling on him to disavow the immigration measure, while another to be released in Colorado is aimed at former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, the front-runner in the Republican Senate primary.

A third, bilingual ad to be aired in Las Vegas urges listeners to “vote in November.”

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