May 6, 2010 By Gebe Martinez May 6
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger settled into Jay Leno’s guest chair last week on “The Tonight Show” and declared that Arizona’s harsh new immigration law, which relies on racial profiling, “is a huge mess.” He quickly emphasized, “I, as governor here, I would never do that in California…No way.”
Schwarzenegger’s swagger, however, does not mean that California has come up with a better way to control illegal immigration, or that its citizens are not frustrated by the federal government’s broken immigration system and frightened by reports of illegal drug-trafficking and violence across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Rather, he knows the political and economic harm that can come to a state when immigrant bashing goes to the extreme and the public discussion turns hyperbolic.