Top Calif. lawmaker wants to sever ties with ArizonaPosted: Updated:
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- One of California's top legislative leaders called on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Tuesday to review the state's contracts with Arizona and cancel them if legally possible, as a protest against that state's new immigration law.
In the letter sent Tuesday, state Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the recently signed law attempts to legalize racial profiling.
"I think we have a moral obligation to deliver an unequivocal message to lawmakers in Arizona that California does not condone its conduct," Steinberg wrote in the letter.
The law allows police officers to question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant, and makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.
"By effectively authorizing law enforcement to arrest and interrogate anybody they believe looks 'different,' no person in Arizona can feel assured that they will be able to live their lives freely," Steinberg wrote.
Steinberg asked the governor to provide details about California's contracts with any business or government in Arizona. He wrote that he doubts that the state law is constitutional, but it could take years for courts to resolve that question.
Schwarzenegger has not yet replied, but told reporters that immigration matters are the responsibility of the federal government.
"I urge the federal government to get their act together," Schwarzenegger said in a news conference.
Aaron McLear, spokesman for Schwarzenegger, said they received the letter but do not yet have an opinion.
"We need to determine how this idea would affect our budget and job-creation efforts," McLear said. "The Governor does not support the Arizona law but the only real solution is for the federal government to produce a comprehensive immigration policy for the entire country."
The State Department of General Services could not immediately determine what contracts California has with Arizona, but a spokesman said it is looking into the matter.
Steinberg said Arizona houses some of California's prisoners, and that California has contracts there with energy companies.
"The law is directed at people with brown skin," Steinberg said. "And we have overcome too much in this country and in California to just stand idly by and not react to what is out-and-out discrimination."
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