A joint group of aldermen, from the Finance and Human Relations committees, on Wednesday adopted a resolution that would prospectively boycott any future contracts with Arizona companies. The mostly symbolic action does not affect or cancel existing contracts, but would urge city departments from doing future business with the Grand Canyon State.
The full council is expected to pass the ordinance next week.
"This is not just a Latino immigrant issue. It is an immigrant issue. Our country is made of immigrants, and laws like this, that are perhaps going to be on the books, need to be pushed back and need to be repealed," said Ald. Joe Moreno (1st), who co-sponsored the resolution with Ald. George Cardenas (12th).
Meanwhile, a small but determined group of Minutemen protesters tried to drum up support for Arizona and its law. Among them was Rick Williams, whose brother was killed in 1978.
"He was stabbed once in the back with an 12-inch knife and stabbed twice in the chest. My brother was 30 years old with a wife and two daughters and here's a young punk, illegal, murdering him," he said.
Mayor Richard Daley said he empathizes with people who dislike Arizona's law, but said boycotts aren't they way to get the message across. And he said he feared that Arizona would, in turn, boycott Chicago businesses.
"It’s hard to boycott businesses. You would not be going to Cubs and Sox games" if they're up against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Daley said. "You have to be very careful with it."
The city currently does official business with at least four Arizona companies, including Redflex Traffic Systems, which installed and maintains the 189 red light traffic cameras strewn about the city. That contract lasts until 2013.
The Cook County Board on Tuesday passed a similar resolution, just before it approved a red-light contract with an Arizona company.
Several municipalities across the country have passed or are considering passing legislation condemning Arizona's law.
The law, SB 1070, requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's "reasonable suspicion" they’re in the United States illegally.