Call for Cyclist Boycott of Arizona

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Plan your biking vacation elsewhere
With its great winter weather and uniquely awesome scenery, Arizona is an international magnet for cyclists of all stripes. The annual Bisbee stage race, Sedona’s mystical red rock, Tucson’s other-worldly Coronado National Forest (actually desert), Phoenix’s South Mountain and Flagstaff’s thriving bike culture — to say nothing of the unofficial state bike blog, DrunkCyclist — add up to a cycling lure rivaling Utah and California in the guide books and magazine reviews.

So it pains us to call for cyclists to join a growing boycott of Arizona over the state’s misguided new immigration profiling law. In a nutshell, the law mandates police to pull over and ask ID of anyone who might look like they’re “illegal” (undocumented).

The law is anti-American, it’s as simple as that. It divides us as a people and as a nation. It smacks of Jim Crow in the old South, anti-Jewish pogroms in Europe and apartheid in South Africa. It’s about as backward, totalitarian and repressive as government gets.

We’ve started a Facebook page, “Cyclists Boycotting Arizona,” in protest. It seems the least cyclists can do as a subculture ourselves. Please join. You can also sign a petition. And as always, your comments are welcome.


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11 thoughts on “Call for Cyclist Boycott of Arizona”

  1. I am an Arizona resident and cyclist, your site, and facebook was brought to my attention. I wish that you would get your facts straight about this law, and not spread falsehoods. The law has no mandates that forces a police officer to pull over suspected persons, and ask for ID. This is absolutely wrong, and you are not helping the situation by spreading information such as your sentence: “In a nutshell, the law mandates police to pull over and ask ID of anyone who might look like they’re “illegal” (undocumented).”
    The law indicates that during a legal traffic stop, or other type of police contact such as response to ordinance violations, that if an officer has probable cause to believe that a person is not here legally, he can then ask questions, or ask for proof of citizenship in the form of a drivers license or other legal document as proof. There is no mandate for officers to pull people over because they think they are illegal immigrants. Please revise your posting, and your Facebook page, as you are hurting Arizona businesses with falsehoods. Feel free to question a police officer upon use of this law, and how he or she drew their conclusions and asked for proof of citizenship, but until then, boycotting AZ on a law that is not enforceable yet is misguided. However it is even more misguided to think wrongdoing will occur, when every state in the Union requires you to carry identification at all times, and any police officer can request you to present your id at any time. Your home state of Washington has this law, is it unconstitutional for that to happen?

  2. Thanks for the advisory, Joe. I can appreciate your concern and of course try to represent the facts as best I can. But the facts in this case are far from black and white, to use an unfortunate but appropriate metaphor. By far the preponderance of opinion on this law perceives it to require police to question folks based on whether they might be in the country illegally. As the New York Times put it, “The statute requires police officers to stop and question anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant.” I’m not a lawyer and assume you aren’t either, and we both know the law has a long way to go in terms of appeals. For now, I’m sticking with my characterization because it’s in line with that of lawyers and experts I trust.

  3. Paul, please do your research and don’t rely on the misguided NY Times for your “Facts”. Joe is 100% correct. You don’t need to look far or hard to get to the truth. No one is going to be pulled over for looking illegal. This law only mirrors the federal law and allows the local police to ask immigration status during a legal traffic stop. Please please be responsible and do your research and don’t be lazy. Real journalist will dig for the truth and not just re quote a newspaper that is so far left.

  4. Well, it just so happens that I am a certified Paralegal.

    Please take a look at this page:

    This is the bill as signed.

    The New York Times has been called out in regards to how they have depicted this law. “Requires police offers to stop and question” is no where within this law. Read it please. This is what I refer to falsehoods in trying to depict this law in the way that you do. When I teach students, we often draw from multiple locations on the web as a exercise, and amazingly there is entirely different information in all locations.

    A media outlet should not create your entire reaction to something such as this. Perhaps actually reading the law as it sits would be best, then add in helpings of other resources for understanding and background.
    In this NY Times article, it says nothing of the words that you quote:
    Please, why don’t we rely on the facts of the law as it sits on the Arizona Legislature website, and its specific wording at hand. When others bend the words to meet their agendas, more people are injured than those that can bring about proper change.

  5. The law includes a provision that an individual can sue in court if an officer or police department if they are not enforcing the new law as much as the individual believes it should be. Of course, someone randomly shooting a gun might just be ignored as a result. The following is what I emailed to the Gov today:

    Honorable Governor:

    I am about to send in my early ballot to vote for the Sales Tax increase. The items it is purported to help are important to me. For example, I see education as the greatest investment there is for our future.

    My strong reservation is that these monies will, instead be piddled away for legal/court costs for SB1070, which will be severely weakened, if not totally overturned.

    You were recently quoted as saying you don’t understand why people are calling for a boycott as it will hurt innocent people. Clearly your signing of SB1070 shows you don’t understand hurt when it is inflicted on others, why do you expect yourself to understand hurt when it is inflicted on the rest of us?

    Gene Holmerud

  6. Looks like Paul has already pointed his finger. I support AZ and will likely plan a trip there to cycle the beautiful roadways.

  7. I’ve only driven through AZ once & was planning, along with some friends to visit this summer. I can’t imagine having my right, & especially my children’s right, to be an American questioned simply because of the color of my skin, & will probably remove it from my travel list for the rest of my life.

    Anyone who pretends that reality chooses to ignores the dozens of youtubes & articles already flooding the media of ‘brown americans’ in Arizona being held for days simply because they’re the wrong color & for the crime of carrying only their driver’s license.

  8. Your “boycott” will do nothing to change this law. All it will do is hurt the economy and people of Arizona, legal and illegal. And it already has!! As a small business owner who can only stand by and watch my livelihood further vanish in an already disastrous economy, I resent the fact that everyone outside this state assumes every Arizona resident is a redneck racist. Why are you directing all your anger at the people of Arizona? No one asked me to vote on this law!! This is all about the politicians and stirring up emotion. And your “work” my friend is only serving to destroy the lives of people just like you trying to make ends meet everyday. How do you sleep at night? Nice work.

  9. Doggone it, I wanted to enjoy this site, but the first thing I read is a non-bicycle related diatribe.
    Yes, I’ve picked a dog in this fight among the news & opinion boards, but I came here for the escapism that bicycling affords. I am outta here. Come with me, peaceful pedlars.

  10. Thank you, Paul for you brave stand against discrimination! As a bicyclist, former resident of AZ and a practicing attorney I am appalled at the misinformation of the SUPPORTERS of the AZ law and flippant attitude display when the very real shortcoming of this law re presented. Allow me to dispel an outright lie: the AZ law DOES NOT merely restates federal law: it adds additional provisions that directly affect US CITIZENS.

    The AZ law allows police officers, at their discretion, to request proof of citizenship/immigration status (not just proof of identification) even from individuals stopped for a minor offense. If the individual questioned cannot provide a birth certificate or satisfy the officer that he or she is legally in the US, that person can be arrested and jailed until immigration status is verified. The officer, at his discretion, can also demand to see proof of immigration status from anyone who is with the person initially stopped or questioned.

    Folks have problems with a number of the provisions (none of them, by the way, related to “illegal aliens”):

    First, there is no law that requires a US CITIZEN to show proof of citizenship to any law enforcement officer (with the obvious exception of showing your passport, etc. to an immigration officer if you are a traveler entering the US at the border or airport). The AZ for the first time ever would require a US citizen to prove his or her status to a local police officer whenever the officer asks for it.

    Second, the officer is allowed discretion as to whom to ask such proof of citizenship. The racist intent of the law is clear from this particular provision: the AZ legislature could have made the requirement to show immigration status papers from ANYONE detained, ticketed or arrested by a cop, but chose to give the cops permission to profile and use their “judgment” or bias in deciding who to ask. Clearly, the intent was to make sure that Caucasian people would not be inconvenienced

    The law clearly targets ONLY one type of persons: not “illegal aliens” but any brown-skinned person of Hispanic heritage, including the 30 plus Hispanics that re US citizens.

    My family has lived in what is now the US since the 16th century, before the mayflower ever set sail from England. We are brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking US CITIZENS and the law allows racist cop to arrest me if I jaywalk, litter on the street or absentmindedly run stop sign and do not carry my passport or birth certificate with me.

    My question is: how can any decent, moral American can support such blatant discrimination against a fellow US citizen?

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