Coleman bans city travel to Arizona over immigration law

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said Wednesday he would ban all publicly funded travel to Arizona to take a stand against that state's new law targeting illegal immigrants.

Coleman acknowledged that the city of St. Paul doesn't travel to Arizona very often, but he said it was important for cities across the country to show their opposition to the legislation.

The law signed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer requires state and local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status.

Coleman's ban follows similar movements in other cities across the country. City council members in San Francisco and Los Angeles have proposed economic boycotts of Arizona, and the San Francisco mayor imposed a moratorium on public travel to the state.

"It's a wonderful place and I've been there myself, but I think what they've done in the state of Arizona is to scapegoat people," Coleman said.

Coleman said allowing police officers to question people about their immigration status hurts the relationships officers have with communities and undermines their ability to solve crimes. Critics of Arizona's law say people will be less willing to cooperate in crime investigations because they are afraid of being deported.

In addition, the Arizona law could encourage police to target certain people based on race, Coleman said.

"It's never been helpful to profile people," he said. "We need to stand up against what I think is clearly wrong-headed policy."

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