Local Politics

Durham passes ban over Arizona immigration law

Posted June 21, 2010
Updated June 22, 2010

— Phoenix is more than 2,000 miles from Durham, but the Bull City took a stand Monday on Arizona's controversial new immigration law.

The law, which goes into effect next month, will require law enforcement officers in Arizona to ask anyone whom they detain or arrest about their immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally.

Nate Goetz, chairman of Durham's Human Relations Commission, asked the Durham City Council to ban travel to Arizona for city business until the law is repealed. The resolution passed 6-1 Monday evening.

"We are sending a message to Arizona that we are not going to tolerate their decision to enact this legislation," Goetz said.

City Councilman Eugene Brown voted against the ban and argued that Arizona law was none of Durham's business.

"I wasn't elected to vote on this type of situation. We've got more than enough challenges here in Durham to deal with," Brown said before the council meeting.

Brown introduced a resolution asking lawmakers to look at federal immigration reform.

"Immigration is a federal – repeat, a federal – responsibility, not a state (one), and it is sure as hell not the responsibility of the Durham City Council," he said.

Opposition to Arizona immigration law, call for Arizona boycott Latinos in Durham fear Arizona-style enforcement

Still, Goetz said that fear is spreading within Durham's Latino community about the immigration law and whether something similar could happen in North Carolina.

"Once it comes into our neighborhoods, it has everything to do with Durham, and it's come into our neighborhoods," he said.

A travel ban will likely have little economic impact on Arizona, Durham spokeswoman Beverly Thompson said, as only three people have traveled there in the last two years for city business.

Durham has no long-term contracts with Arizona businesses and would comply with state laws governing purchases of materials or supplies from Arizona vendors, Thompson said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • nathanielhgoetz Jun 25, 2010

    Here is the link to the resolution. It is worth taking a look at given the number of comments about this story:

  • GOLO Joe Jun 24, 2010

    Oh Brother! It doesn’t have anything to do with liberals. The state law is discriminatory. I’m sure hundreds of people are deported every day being in the country illegally. The state law singles out people based on how they look, even if they’re born in the US. This is racial profiling. If they were focused solely on pulling over white people I wouldn’t have a problem, but I’m confident you would.

    There is no way to enforce the new Arizona law without racial profiling. It’s just an excuse to target and intimidate people. Boycott Durham? I’m sure they will survive.

  • drmoriarte Jun 23, 2010

    How does Arizona discriminate by enforcing the Federal law? That doesn't make any sense.

    So how would you "enforce" the current law on the books at the Federal level? You are claiming discrimination because it focuses on people who are brown. Would you be ok with the policy if every single time someone was pulled over, regardless of color, they were required to provide citizenship? Problem with that mindset is that the Liberals in this country freak out every time someone insists that driver's licenses only be given to people who have verified their citizenship. In the end, they want to prevent the law from "profiling" brown people, but don't want to help institute laws that allow law enforcement to not "profile". This law is a mirror of Federal Law, and if the Federal government won't enforce it, then the State is within its rights to enforce it. I can only hope NC follows suit.


  • GOLO Joe Jun 23, 2010

    I'm hardly missing the point, as I wasn't focused on discussing wages. Immigrants are here, doing jobs other people don't want. We will blame the government for not enforcing the law, but Arizona does that by discriminating. If you were the focus of the discrimination, then I wouldn't have a problem with it, but unfortunately I'm brown, and guilty by association. Probable cause is looking Hispanic. Shouldn’t cause be focused on looking for crazy white dudes who bomb federal buildings? Maybe Arizona should just pull over all white people. Arizona matches a 'wrong' with something worse. If this law was focused at whites then it would be REALLY WRONG, and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  • drmoriarte Jun 23, 2010

    Golo Joe, you seem to be missing the point. This isn't about paying fair wages. If someone is in this country legally, they get paid a legal wage.

    Again, Arizona is only enforcing the law that the federal government refuses to enforce. We as an American people LOVE immigrants, most of us have immigrant blood in us. What we don't want and are AGAINST are those who are here "illegally". Remember, this is a nation of laws. If we are going to have laws, we should enforce them. Not ignore them because of our personal agendas.


  • GOLO Joe Jun 22, 2010

    This is really good to hear! Glad to hear Durham is doing the right thing. It seems the immigrants are perfectly OK when they are cleaning our pools, mowing our lawn, roofing our homes, among other things and doing it for a very low price. When it becomes the right thing to make them more than second class citizens everyone gets all bent out of shape. It would be great to see a law passed where whites are harassed for nothing more than being white. You would really see some action on getting that law tossed out!

    Way to go Durham!

  • pjkbs Jun 22, 2010

    Something needs to be done! I'm thankful to AZ and hope NC follows!

  • DavyCrockett Jun 22, 2010

    At least Councilman Eugene Brown knows the role of a city council. Too bad the others on the council are such clueless dolts. Then again, this is Durham we're talking about.

  • Vietnam Vet Jun 22, 2010

    That's telling AZ Durham...your boycott will surely hurt them right where it hurts...not! Politics at its best! It's about time somebody is trying to enforce existing law. The federal government sure isn't handling it!!!

  • dplowman Jun 22, 2010

    This is a prime example of stupidity at its fullest. The law is a federal law that is not being upheld so who else can do it but the states. I vote to boycott durham and for North Carolina to enforce the law as it is written on the federal level just like Arizona has. Finnaly a state with some @alls