Tomorrow the Austin City Council is going to spend part of their weekly meeting discussing a city boycott of the state of Arizona over the passage of the Immigration; Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Bill (SB1070) which mandates “cooperative enforcement” of federal immigration laws by Arizona law enforcement when the federal government fails to enforce those laws.
This boycott is the brainchild of Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, and council member Bill Spelman, announced in a strongly worded press release two weeks ago. It would include cutting off ties with Arizona businesses and prohibiting travel by city employees to Arizona because of what Martinez calls an “uncertain and potentially hostile environment.”
These political clowns are sitting in the safety of their beautiful new city hall, more than a thousand miles from Arizona and worrying about problems which are none of their business while ignoring the responsibilities of the offices they were elected to. The city currently faces a $28 million budget shortfall and is going through a controversial reorganization of Capital Metro and has all the usual problems like traffic congestion, crime, and homelessness. These are the kinds of things they ought to be focusing their attention on.
Instead they choose to engage in meaningless political grandstanding based on fundamental ignorance about the situation in Arizona. If city employees might be in danger in Arizona it would be because of the lack of border enforcement, not because of this new law. This bill passed because the situation in Arizona is out of control. Illegal immigrants, coyotes, and drug dealers have made the border into a war zone where “drug trains” accompanied by paramilitary forces in pickup trucks and armed with machine guns accompany drugs and illegals over the border and kill anyone who gets in their way, including illegals who refuse to act as human shields or become inconvenient once they are no longer needed to carry drugs.
Martinez talks about the city’s "vehement opposition to racial discrimination in any form" — a non-issue with racial profiling explicitly prohibited in the new Arizona law. Perhaps he should be more concerned about the cost in lives and safety to American citizens and Mexican migrants on a border where lawlessness rules and violence is out of control and where the bodies of murdered immigrants are found by roadsides and on ranches on a daily basis. Perhaps the city council should take one of their frequent taxpayer funded junkets and go to Arizona and see first hand how law and order have broken down there. Perhaps they could stand at the border and welcome the narcotraficantes with open arms as they come across. It's not like the city of Austin where the illegals have jobs and keep their heads down and there are more problems with traffic jams than drug trafficking.
There is a special irony in their desire to boycott companies from Arizona, considering that the city’s own accountants, Deloitte and Touche, are a division of Deloitte, LLP which is an Arizona based company. What would the city government do without accountants to keep track of all the money they waste on idiotic light rail projects and building bike lanes to serve 20 people? Deloitte also supplies many of the overpaid consultants the city government relies on to provide expensive reports justifying ludicrous policy decisions like this one. It’s hard to imagine the city functioning without accountants and consultants, though such a change in policy might save the taxpayers a great deal of money.
The failure of the federal government to bring the borders under control spurred the Arizona legislature to take action and assume responsibility for the welfare of the people of their state. It is a very real problem which threatens the lives of citizens and migrants alike and it should be taken seriously. The new Arizona law is a desperate response to protect their citizens and their borders, an example of government taking responsibility where no one else will.
It is unfortunate that Austin’s leaders, so far removed from any real danger, don't have the same sense of responsibility. It is an embarrassment to the city that they think that a boycott based on ignorance and political opportunism will do anything but make them look foolish. They should spend less time worrying about what's going on in Arizona and more time fulfilling the real responsibilities of the offices they were elected to.
This article appeared previously on Blogcritics Magazine.