The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to stop doing business in Arizona unless the state's tough new immigration law is repealed. But city officials will first have to figure out which contracts can be suspended without risking a lawsuit.
The city does about $52 million worth of business with Arizona companies, but it's likely that only about $8 million worth of contracts can be terminated. Purchase agreements for wind and nuclear energy would be maintained, but contracts for helicopter services, Tasers and waste management might be ended.
Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who co-authored the resolution, said it would be impractical to cancel some deals.
"US Airways is based in Arizona, and they certainly fly in and out [of Los Angeles]," and it would hardly be feasible to end those flights, Hahn said before Wednesday's vote.
The resolution states that Arizona's law, set to take effect July 29, encourages racial profiling and is unconstitutional. The law requires police enforcing another law to question a person about his or her immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the United States illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. Several lawsuits seeking to block its implementation are pending in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said he'll approve the measure, making Los Angeles the largest city yet to boycott Arizona.
The cities of San Diego, San Francisco and Oakland have also passed resolutions urging a boycott of the state.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the boycotts are unfortunate and misguided, primarily because the law mirrors a federal requirement that legal immigrants carry immigration papers.
"It's already the law in the United States, and I have a responsibility to stand up and protect the people of Arizona, and we will do that," Brewer said Tuesday.
Charges that the law will lead to racial profiling are "just pure rhetoric," Brewer said.
"I find it really interesting that we have people out there that are attempting a boycott in favor of illegal actions in Arizona. That to me is just unbelievable."