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posted Friday, May 14, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 20
Sally Clark to propose council's Arizona boycott
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Sally Clark to propose council's Arizona boycott

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle City Council member Sally Clark will introduce a resolution on Monday, May 17, committing the city to boycott the state of Arizona.

"It would call on the city to restrict travel that may be planned or conferences that were slated for Arizona, many of which I understand may be in the process of being canceled at this point," Clark explained. "And it would also ask that we look at any purchasing we do of any products or services from the state of Arizona."

The reason is Arizona's controversial new immigration law, often called the "show me your papers Act."

The Arizona law requires local law enforcement officers to demand proof of immigration status from anyone they suspect may be in the U.S. illegally. Critics of the law say it mandates racial profiling.

Clark says Seattle has a large immigrant population that is a crucial part of the work force and the local economy. She also cites a 2006 City Council resolution calling for comprehensive federal immigration reform.

While Clark admits the resolution will have a very limited practical effect - "at this point there is no discretionary travel," she says - she believes it is necessary.

"It still makes a statement," she told SGN. "It gets people to focus on Arizona and the issue of immigration reform. For any city, boycott is not a particularly effective tool."

Clark is working with Mayor Mike McGinn's office and the office of Portland Mayor Sam Adams in hopes of passing the resolution in several northwest cities simultaneously.

While Clark opposes the new Arizona law, she believes it is merely symptomatic of a bigger problem.

"We need federal immigration reform," she insists. "There have to be understandable and just rules. We have to end the patchwork approach."

Clark says that managing immigration will continue to be a problem until immigrants get "meaningful ways to get citizenship or meaningful economic and political reform in their home countries."

Clark was one of the co-sponsors of the City's Council's 2006 resolution on immigration reform. Other co-sponsors who are still serving on the Council include Jean Godden, Nick Licata, and Tom Rasmussen.

Asked if she thinks she has all her Council colleagues lined up to vote for her resolution, Clark chuckles.

"I've learned not to count my chickens," she says. "In general, my colleagues are uniformly disappointed by the Arizona law, and the lack of comprehensive immigration reform."

Clark would not comment on the recent case of a Seattle police officer videotaped kicking a handcuffed Latino suspect in the head.

"I'm gonna beat the Mexican piss outta you!" the officer reportedly said. The suspect was subsequently cleared of any charges and released.

"I can't comment until we've gotten the investigation back," Clark told SGN. "I'm glad to see the officer apologized for his remarks. There's no legitimate law enforcement need for that kind of language."

Asked if the incident should be investigated as a hate crime, Clark answered, "I don't think I can go into that now."

Along with her City Council colleagues, Clark did sign on to a statement expressing "concern" over the incident, which it called "extremely troubling."

"The Council fully expects Seattle Police Department leadership to take the appropriate actions with the involved officers, upon completion of their internal investigation," the statement said.

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