No, it’s not yet like the state v. state fight in 2001, when the Yankees played the Diamondbacks in the World Series. But now that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has signed her state’s draconian Senate Bill 1070 into law, a number of New York immigration activists and politicians are angry enough to cross the borders into Arizona for a little in-your-face action.
So far, a lot of this umbrage has been taken only via press release, as City Hall’s Andrew Hawkins points out. We attended a protest rally in Federal Plaza yesterday at which the press outnumbered the demonstrators, and no elected officials spoke.
But several lawmakers plan to take their Big Apple attitude directly to Arizona.
Hawkins writes that “a group of Latino Assembly members, led by National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators president Felix Ortiz,” plan to “chain themselves to the border fence in a show of civil disobedience.”
In Albany today, according to one of those press releases, state senators Jose Peralta and Jose Serrano introduced a resolution “denouncing any policy of profiling in New York State, and urging the federal government to denounce any state-sanctioned immigration policy similar to Arizona’s law.”
“This regrettable law should serve as a wake-up call for the federal government to act now on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform,” Serrano is quoted as saying, “so that this oppressive law does not set the tone for immigration laws in New York and throughout the nation.”
At this point, just words. And the Daily News reports a case of “misfired ire”: People are calling for a boycott of Arizona Iced Tea, mistakenly thinking it is manufactured in its namesake state. Unfortunately, the product is made here in New York. We assumed it was shipped in from China.
But, who knows? Lobbying knows few borders, and the iced tea moguls at Arizona Beverage Co., which is headquartered out in Woodbury, Long Island, won’t like declining sales for any reason. They can put pressure on Arizona pols just as effectively from Nassau County.
Arizona’s repeating its history. In 1987, an archconservative car dealer named Evan Mecham became governor and, in his first official act, canceled the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Mecham was so outrageously dim, dumb, and racist — he noted publicly that he played with “pickaninnies” when he was a child, and he regularly insulted Japanese, Jews, Latinos, and just about everybody else — that he became a nationally known bad joke. Arizona was besieged by boycotts, and Arizonans impeached him and drove him out of office after only a year.