Pelosi Won’t Back Boycott of Arizona Over Immigration Law

Posted April 29, 2010 at 4:12pm

Arizona’s controversial new law cracking down on illegal immigrants reverberated through the national political scene this week, inflaming passions on both sides of the issue. But for now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is taking a hands-off approach to pushing back against the measure.

The top House Democrat on Thursday declined to endorse an economic boycott of the state that Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is spearheading, noting that the state’s delegation is split on the move. “I’m not there on the ground,” Pelosi said Thursday afternoon after her weekly press conference.

And Pelosi told reporters earlier that she has no plans to pursue a Congressional resolution condemning the new law — which requires law enforcement to question individuals about their immigration status if they suspect that they are in the country illegally — pointing instead to more direct actions that opponents of the law can take. In addition to a legal challenge, Pelosi said that a petition forcing a repeal referendum onto the November ballot would block implementation of the measure.

Champions of the Arizona law argue that the state’s hand was forced by the federal government’s inability to tackle comprehensive immigration reform. And while Pelosi in a statement reacting to its enactment said the measure is “a reminder of the need for urgent, bipartisan action” on that front, she cautioned Thursday that pushing an overhaul through Congress would require presidential leadership. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said “there may not be an appetite” for tackling the immigration reform this year, given the number of tough votes lawmakers have already taken and the looming midterm elections.