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Border & immigration

Grijalva calls for boycott of Az over immigration measure

'It's a horrible, horrible precedent for the nation, and we can't allow it to continue'

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva says the rest of the country should boycott his home state of Arizona if a tough immigration law is signed by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Grijalva was responding to a new state law, SB 1070, that requires police to check the IDs and arrest anyone who they have "reasonable suspicion" might be in the country illegally.

"It's a horrible, horrible precedent for the nation, and we can't allow it to continue," the Southern Arizona congressman told Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's "Countdown" on Tuesday.

The Democrat urged businesses and national organizations to refrain spending money in – or doing business with – the state and the federal government to withhold money from the state.

"We're asking organizations of color to refrain from using Arizona as a convention site, to refrain from spending their dollars in the state of Arizona until Arizona turns the clock forward instead of backward, and joins the rest of the union."

In an press release Tuesday, Grijalva said "This bill will be rejected by the courts, and in the meantime, Arizonans will be subjected to unnecessary indignity at the hands of a racist law. I cannot stress enough the scale of the damage Arizona’s prestige and credibility will suffer if this bill is finalized."

Sen. John McCain, a fellow Arizonan, praised the bill after risking his political career to support comprehensive immigration reform in the past.

McCain, who is facing a tough GOP primary challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, called the Arizona measure "a very important step forward."

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A boycott of conventions, concerts and sporting events - including a move by the NFL Player's Association that nixed a Super Bowl in Arizona - helped change the state's policy in 1993 after Gov. Evan Mecham canceled the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva wants convention-goers to stay away from Arizona.