Bar association pressured to cancel Phoenix conference
The American Bar Association is being pressured to cancel its conference set for next week in Phoenix.
The City Bar Justice Center, the pro bono arm of the New York City Bar, on Monday called for the conference to be moved to another state, while the Legal Aid Society said three employees who had intended to go will not attend. The board of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association, which was to co-sponsor the conference, voted late Monday to pull out of the event.
Gary Windom, the chair of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association's board and the Riverside County public defender in Riverside, Calif., said his group was not reacting to the New York boycotts but because the new Arizona law "violates and flies in the face of our core values."
"At this time, the ABA has not made a decision, and from all appearances may proceed with the convention," Windom said. "But that's a decision they will have to make."
Officials with the ABA did not respond to repeated requests for comment. In an undated statement on the conference's website posted last week, the ABA and the defender group said they were "considering every alternative and chance to voice our opposition to this policy" without canceling the event.
The boycotts come in response to Arizona's new law that makes it a state crime to lack immigration papers and requires police to determine whether people they stop are in the country illegally
The ABA conference is scheduled for May 13-15 and more than 800 people are expected to attend.