California's state Senate leader on Tuesday urged a possible end to state contracts with Arizona to protest that state's new immigration law.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said Arizona's law is a "gross civil-rights violation" because it requires local police to demand proof of legal status if officers suspect a person might be an illegal immigrant.
The Sacramento Democrat sent a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requesting collaboration to consider legally breaking contracts until the Arizona law is repealed.
California has prisoners housed in Arizona and energy contracts, among other private and public ties.
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"It's a civil-rights issue whenever you set somebody aside because of the color of their skin or where they come from," said Steinberg, who is a lawyer. "And that applies to both legal immigrants, citizens and undocumented immigrants. I mean, how do you define reasonable suspicion? There's only one way under that law. And it's somebody who looks Mexican. Period."
Aaron McLear, Schwarzengger's spokesman, did not rule out the proposal.
"We need to determine how this idea would affect our budget and job-creation efforts," he 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."
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