Wednesday, May 19, 2010

California Announces Boycott -- of Itself

Recently the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 to terminate some $7-8 million worth of contracts with Arizona-based entities, as part of a policy to boycott the latter State for its legislation allowing local law enforcement to request ID verification from immigrants. San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego passed their own boycott resolutions in short order, and more measures are pending before a number of other cities in California and other States.

However, a genuine journalist working for the Washington Times did the unthinkable, and actually carried out some research into California law. Kerry Picket discovered section 834b of the California Penal Code, which reads as follows (with added bold emphasis):

(a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws. (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following: (1) Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status. (2) Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States. (3) Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity. (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.
Especially worthy of note is subsection (c) of the statute, which prohibits any legislation or other action by any local government which would hinder law enforcement from cooperating with the immigration authorities. This provision makes illegal all the various "sanctuary" legislation enacted by numerous California cities over the past years. But it would also appear to make illegal the various official boycotts of Arizona, one legal expert pointed out. "By trying to penalize Arizona for enforcing its own law," he said, "those cities are also hindering California law enforcement from working in tandem with the Arizona authorities to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across the Mexican border." He acknowledged, however, that his was a minority point of view "for the time being."

The exposure of the fact that California has for quite some time had legislation on its books which parallels that of Arizona has, however, much wider consequences, as recognized by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in a recent announcement. "To be consistent with our State's treatment of Arizona requires that California now boycott itself until this hate-filled legislation can be repealed," the Governor said. "While I did not sign the act that put this statute on the books, I note that it is no longer safe for me, a naturalized citizen from a foreign country, to take my aides out for ice cream if some police officer or highway patrolman decides to stop and interrogate me based on my accent. I call on all Californians to show our true greatness, and join me in boycotting this State until our legislature comes to its senses."

It was unclear at press time how the boycott would be carried out in practice. Governor Schwarzenegger urged all state employees to follow his example and refuse to accept their government salaries, but there was widespread resistance to such a step, particularly among the public sector unions, who were in the midst of their annual lobbying campaign for higher government pay and benefits. "How can we boycott the hand that feeds us?" asked one union leader, who asked to remain anonymous.

Meanwhile, Arizona has offered to help, by preventing all transfers of Arizona electrons to California outlets. No doubt as the news spreads of California's anti-immigrant legislation, other states will join the movement. "We've long been waiting for a payback moment like this," said one New York legislator, who asked not to be identified. "They think they can sue Wall Street -- well, that's a two-way street, as they will soon find out."

Inside California, however, confusion reigned following the Governor's announcement. It appeared as though each citizen was expected to find his or her own way to implement the boycott. "I'm through paying State taxes," said one. "And I'm not going to let any quail (the State bird) nest in my yard," said another. "No more Hollywood movies for me," said a third. "This'll show 'em," said a fourth, as he circulated a petition to have California rejoin Mexico.

California, it would seem, is once again called upon to lead the way -- for others to follow.


  1. Priceless, just priceless. Moonbattery aboundeth.

  2. The fundamental problem with this post is that I cannot tell if it's a joke or not. What it presents is so ridiculously outlandish that it has to be the product of hyperbolic sarcasm. That being said, California is so hyperbolic in reality that I could actually see something like this happening for real. So which is it?

  3. It started out as factual, Adam, but with the account of the statute that resembles Arizona's (also factual), the pull of satire became too strong. It became clear that with its call to boycott Arizona, California's only recourse was to boycott itself.

    However, there were still some facts to include -- the letter from an Arizona utility regulator offering to cut off California's power is real, as is the suit brought by several California cities against Wall Street (both linked to their sources). So I am not surprised by your puzzlement. There was no good way to separate the straight facts from the satire and sarcasm -- as is so typical in talking about California these days.