Milwaukee Debates Arizona Boycott but Confused Where Border Is
June 25, 2010, 04:24 PM
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The Milwaukee County Board spent the better part of a day debating whether to boycott Arizona in order to protest the immigration enforcement law SB 1070.

Supervisor Peggy West explained that Arizona cannot make a good case for this law because they are too far removed from the border.

If this was Texas, which is a state that is directly on the border with Mexico, and they were calling for a measure like this saying that they had a major issue with undocumented people flooding their borders, I would have to look twice at this.  But this is a state that is a ways removed from the border.
Supervisor Joe Rice had a better understanding of U.S. geography:
I just want to assure my colleague that Arizona does in fact share a border with the country of Mexico.
TV 4 News has a video clip of the meeting and and article that the following quotes are taken from.

Later in the day Peggy West offered a correction to her statement during the meeting. She said that Texas might have a reason to enforce immigration because their border is so much bigger than the tiny border Arizona has with Mexico.

"I did get a passing grade in Geography in high school and in college and I do obviously know that Arizona is on the border," West said in an interview after today's meeting.

West claims that the point she was trying to make is that because Texas has a much larger border with Mexico, she might feel differently about such a law in that state. "Had Texas come out with the legislation, having the largest border, I think that I would be more receptive to the fact that there was a problem. But having it be Arizona, having it be the second largest boarder and knowing there are troops on the border in Arizona, it didn't seem to me that this legislation was particularly necessary at this moment in time," West said.

According to County Board website, Peggy West is the first Latina member.
Supervisor West also has the unique distinction of being the first Latino/Hispanic American to be elected to the Milwaukee County Board.
She received a degree from a college that either doesn't teach geography very well, or perhaps it grades substandard minority students on a curve:
Supervisor West grew up in Milwaukee and graduated with a degree in Human Services from the Milwaukee Area Technical College. Prior to her election to the Board, Supervisor West worked for 10 years in the human service field.
Supervisor Gary Broderick said that what is going on in Arizona smacks of the kinds of things that happened in Europe during WWII. He also said Arizona is opening the door to ethnic profiling by asking American citizens if they are citizens.

There were a few voices of reason but they were a small minority of the board. Supervisor Joe Sanfelippo said that Milwaukee is too far removed from the situation to judge Arizona. He also suggested that the board should spend it's time solving Milwaukee's problems instead of worrying about Arizona's problems. Sanfelippo may have a point — like for instance the board was so busy debating the boycott they made no progress in plugging a $45 million budget deficit.

See this Fox 6 TV report for more video from that meeting.

The board will probably vote on whether to boycott Arizona on July 29th, which is the day the law goes into effect. According to Fox 6:

In a 17-2 vote the Milwaukee County Board voted to refer the issue of boycotting Arizona back to committee. Supervisors want to take more time to discuss the issue.