Reactions to Arizona boycott at SF Day Labor center

Day laborers in San Francisco's Mission District. Photo courtesy of Deia de Brito.

Last weekend, immigrant rights advocates took to the streets for May Day, and they came out in force to protest a controversial law recently passed in Arizona. The law gives police the right to ask residents about their immigration status and states that they must carry proof that they are in the country legally. It has sparked a national conversation about how our immigration laws should be enforced, with critics saying the Arizona law promotes racial profiling and criminalizes immigrants.

Last night, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution to boycott Arizona and its businesses to protest the law. To find out more about how the Arizona legislation is being viewed here, KALW’s Niels Swinkels went to the Day Labor center in San Francisco. He spoke first with Jose Ramirez, through an interpreter:

JOSE RAMIREZ: I come from Mexico...We are fearful, we don’t feel safe anymore because even though it’s happening in Arizona, here they can change policies as well that could be very bad for our communities and day labor population.

I think a boycott is a good idea and that it would help, and maybe if there was a boycott Arizona would finally understand that we come here to work as well, and we’re doing our part as workers to abide by the laws and they should respect that because every human has a right to live and work.

Jose Luis Gutierrez from Mexico holds a similar viewpoint.

JOSE GUTIERREZ: So yes, I’ve heard about what’s going on and I’ve seen on TV the police and raids that are going on in Arizona and how they are targeting certain communities. People who are even citizens and residents become suspects just because of the color of their skin or because they look like immigrants and it shouldn’t be like that...they shouldn’t just stop people based on a profile.