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Steinberg says California should consider boycotting Arizona in protest of immigration law

April 27, 2010 |  1:54 pm

The leader of the California Senate said Tuesday that the state should consider boycotting businesses from Arizona in protest of a new law there that allows police officers to check the immigration status of those they suspect of being in the country illegally.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) sent a letter to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asking for an inventory of Arizona businesses and government agencies with which California does business.

"The Arizona law is as unconscionable as it is unconstitutional, and the state of California should not be using taxpayer dollars to support such a policy," Steinberg wrote. At a news conference, Steinberg called the Arizona law "a disgrace."

California sends some of its prisoners to Arizona for incarceration under contract and also buys renewable energy from the neighboring state, but Steinberg said some ties may involve contracts that cannot be broken.

An avid baseball fan, Steinberg stopped short of calling on California baseball teams to end their practice of holding spring training in Arizona, but said he may reach that point.

"I think about the beautiful February and March springs in Arizona where a number of California teams provide a great economic boost to Arizona," Steinberg said. "My next letter may be to Major League Baseball asking them to pull out of Arizona as well until this law is reversed."

Schwarzenegger said later he hadn’t yet reviewed Steinberg’s call for a boycott and couldn’t comment on it, but he said he wouldn’t want to cancel any out of state prison contracts.

“I want to keep our prisoners where they are,” he said. “I don’t want to get them back, trust me …. I want to send more out of the state. We want to cut down on inmates in our prisons and wherever we can send them, it’s great.”

Instead, the governor urged the federal government to “get their act together.”

“When  states feel that the federal government is not doing its jobs then all of a sudden they start getting creative and they start taking the law in their hands and start you know trying to figure out what should they do, and so I think this is an outgrowth because of the lack of leadership that is really on the federal level. “

-- Patrick McGreevy

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