Updated: Thursday, 03 Jun 2010, 5:52 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 03 Jun 2010, 5:52 PM EDT
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) - The city of Bloomington has established a boycott that prevents travel to Arizona by city employees and new contracts with any business based in Arizona.
A letter announcing the boycott that was sent to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. It says that the new Arizona law "essentially legalizes racial profiling."
Businesses in the city of Bloomington are encouraged to follow suit. The letter asks them to refrain from doing business with the state of Arizona and it asks residents to avoid engaging in tourism in the state of Arizona.
The letter is signed by eight of the nine city council members, the mayor and the city clerk.
Councilmember Chris Sturbaum spearheaded the effort.
"I was a wrestler," said Sturbaum, "and what I always looked for was leverage and where do you find some leverage but saying, ‘We can affect this community economically.’"
Brad Wisler is the only council member to withhold his signature, though he says he is still opposed to the Arizona law, which requires police to check the documentation of suspected illegal immigrants.
"It didn't make sense to me to state our opposition to discrimination by discriminating," he said.
Hispanic leaders in Bloomington pushed for the boycott and praised its creation.
"We do need changes in immigration," says Daniel Soto. "We do need to protect our border but not that way."
A number of cities around the country have put in place Arizona boycotts. They include San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. Bloomington is the first community in Indiana to do so.
But the real test may be the longevity of Bloomington's waste removal contract. It's with a subsidiary of Republic Services, a company based in Arizona and for now it will stand.
"Would be surprised if you would see any real change in our city's contracting practices as a result of this," says Wisler.
But the real question is whether action in Bloomington could cause change in Arizona.
Wisler, the councilmember who didn't sign the boycott letter, is also the only Republican on the Bloomington council. He says it's just a coincidence, however, and not a partisan issue as far as he's concerned.