Fact Check

Arizona Billboard

Photograph shows Arizona billboard poking fun at Los Angeles' decision to boycott that state?

Published Jun 8, 2010

Claim:   Photograph shows Arizona billboard poking fun at Los Angeles' decision to boycott that state over illegal immigrant legislation.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, June 2010]


Origins:   In June 2010, Los Angeles County "became the latest government body to boycott Arizona to protest the state's tough new law targeting illegal immigration":

After a heated debate, the county's board of supervisors voted 3-2 to ban new contracts with Arizona-based companies and review those that could be canceled. The county has more than $26 million in contracts with Arizona companies this year.

Several California cities, including Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco, have passed similar measures.

The Arizona law, set to go into effect July 29 [2010], requires police enforcing another law to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.

Supervisor Gloria Molina said the law "goes too far."

"I am sworn as an L.A. County supervisor to uphold the Constitution. All I can say is that I believe that Arizona's law is unconstitutional," she said.

U.S. Justice Department officials have drafted a legal challenge asserting that Arizona's law is unconstitutional because it intrudes on the federal government's authority to guard the nation's borders.

The image displayed above supposedly shows a billboard erected in Phoenix in response to Los Angeles' boycott of Arizona, a sign which sardonically informs illegal immigrants that "Los Angeles loves you" and suggests they head west on Interstate 8 out of Arizona and into California. However, this image is a digitally created mock-up and not a genuine photograph of a real billboard. Elements such as the saguaro cactus on the left-hand side of the picture and the Arizona state flag, for example, were clearly pasted in from other cactus and flag photos:

Probably not coincidentally, immediately before this billboard image began circulating, a letter to the editor from a Phoenix resident was published in the Arizona Republic advocating the very idea depicted above:

Arizona citizens should erect a billboard on northbound Interstate 10 just south of Casa Grande that says in Spanish: "Attention, illegal immigrants. Arizona does not welcome you. But Los Angeles loves you. Free housing. Free school. Free food. Free medical and hospital. No insurance costs nor taxes. Plentiful jobs. Turn left on 8 and follow your road to paradise."

- John Forster, Phoenix

Last updated:   8 June 2010


    The Arizona Republic.   "Here's an Idea for a Great Billboard."

    26 May 2010.

    Associated Press.   "LA County Boycotts Arizona Over Immigration Law."

    2 June 2010.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.