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Hispanic Members Praise Cities for Lawsuit Against Arizona

Hispanic lawmakers lauded a pair of Arizona cities Wednesday for suing the state over a tough new immigration law, which they say will lead to racial profiling.

The city councils in Flagstaff and Tucson each voted Tuesday to mount the legal challenges — the first from municipalities in the state — on the grounds that the new law is costly to enforce and damaging to the state’s tourism industry.

“The sheriffs are saying, ‘It’s impossible for us to cooperate with the new law,'” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said, adding that no consideration had been given to the costs or logistical realities imposed on local law enforcement.

“Good for them,” Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) said when asked about the lawsuits.

Reyes, who has three sisters and 10 nieces and nephews who reside in the Phoenix area, added, “There are a lot of people who are upset about the law and what it potentially does to people of color, so I am not surprised.”

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said the lawsuits illustrated “how divisive the law is.”

Gutierrez, who heads the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ immigration task force, said the recently thwarted terror attack in New York’s Times Square — in which a T-shirt street vendor was instrumental in tipping off police before the device could inflict damage — illustrated another potential unintended consequence of the Arizona law: that Latinos might not contact police if they see something suspicious for fear of challenges to their immigration status.

“Do you really want to eliminate hundreds of thousands of eyes and ears? And those first responders that interact with police?,” Gutierrez said.

Grijalva, who is spearheading an effort to get national organizations to cancel conventions in Arizona to protest the new law, said nearly a dozen groups are participating in the boycott. He said it was “hypocritical at best” for state officials who supported the immigration law to criticize the boycott on the grounds that it will damage the state economically.

“When you create a mess, there’s going to be consequences,” Grijalva said.

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