L.A. Boycott and Ethnic Studies Law Uproar: Arizona Feels the Heat

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 12, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: A big city takes on a big state. Today the L.A. city council gets political -- really political. It approves a resolution boycotting the entire state of Arizona because of Arizona's new illegal immigration law. But here is an interesting twist. Apparently, the American people are not as fired up as the Los Angeles city council is. According to a new Pew poll, 59 percent approve of the Arizona illegal immigration law, 32 percent disapprove. But that is not all. The same poll finds 73 percent approve of police requiring people to show documents to prove their legal status, 23 percent disapprove.

Joining us live is Los Angeles city councilwoman Janice Hahn -- Janice Hahn. She co-authored the boycott Arizona resolution. Good evening.


VAN SUSTEREN: So why do you -- why this resolution? Why do you need to do it?

HAHN: Well, we felt, as the second largest city in the country, representing four million people, certainly a city of immigrants, we wanted to take a stand that we, like the rest of the country, feel like the federal government needs to take on immigration reform, but we felt like this law was going in the wrong direction. We wanted to stand up and being counted and say that we were going to do everything we could to send a message to Arizona.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why not fire up and send a message to the federal government that for 20-plus years, they've been saying things like, We're going to secure the border, we're going to do all these things, and they've basically done almost zero? Why not go to the source of who could actually fix this and give them a little hell?

HAHN: Well, I think we did that today on the city council. We sort of equally criticized the state of Arizona while also equally criticizing our federal government. People are frustrated. People are fed up. But we don't think this frustration ought to lead to these kinds of laws state by state which tries to enforce immigration in their own way.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, what's wrong with this law? Now, I understand -- I mean, it has been revised. And I know that the criticism is that it's racial profiling. Have you taken a look at the language? And are you satisfied that, indeed, it does racial profiling?

HAHN: Well, I think it allows for certainly some abuse to take place in the way the law is written. The way I understand it, if I person is suspected of engaging in criminal activity, they can be stopped. And then if they don't have the papers that prove they're a legal citizen here, they actually then can be arrested, or they will be arrested and turned over to ICE. So I don't like the way it talks about using things such as a person's appearance or language or cultural traits to make that determination.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I don't want to get down in the weeds in terms of the law. You know, if you arrest someone because you think the person, like -- I'm going to arrest you because you look Mexican, you look like you shouldn't be here -- plainly wrong. But in terms of stopping someone who is even suspected of criminal behavior, the United States Supreme Court has permitted that since 1968 in what's called a Perry stop, where you don't even have to have enough to arrest someone. Someone just seems to be doing something peculiar, and you can actually -- according to the Supreme Court, approach that person and not just simply say, Can I see your identification, to see whether or not you have a driver's license, you're legal, but you can actually do something like frisk the person, you can touch the person, you can pat the person down, which seems to me to be even more intrusive. You got a problem with that?

HAHN: Well, you know, I -- listen, in Los Angeles, here's what we've done. We had a police chief named Daryl Gates, who actually just passed away a couple weeks ago, and he instituted what we call Special Order 40 here in Los Angeles. And for us, we do not allow our police officers in the LAPD to ask someone's immigration status when they come in contact with the police. And we really feel that in our city, it's worked well because there's a great relationship between our communities in Los Angeles and their law enforcement agency.

We feel like people are more willing to speak up. They will give testimony about crimes. They're willing to call the police when they've been a victim of a crime. And so we feel in Los Angeles -- you know, we don't allow our police officers to ask immigration status, and we think that that helps public safety in our city. So we're -- as the city of Los Angeles, it's our belief that this law is going in the wrong direction.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, I just want to make very plain that -- you know, that it is wrong just to simply go up to someone and say, you know, Are you illegal or not? I mean, are you here in this country or not? That's wrong. But as I read this amended Arizona statute -- and a court's going to determine whether it's -- it's constitutional or not -- it's not drafted as well as I think it could be, but what I understand is that -- is that first they find out if a crime has been committed.

Then incident to that, they can ask whether or not someone is there legally or produce documents, which -- and -- and being in the country illegal is, frankly, a violation of the law, like driving after revocation would be. You know, they can ask you when they stop you driving. They can run your driver's license to see if you're driving after revocation.

So I'm not so sure that it was drafted right, but I think that a lot of the focus -- maybe we should look at the federal government to try to solve this problem for us.

HAHN: Well, I think we absolutely should. And I think this is exactly what President Obama and the Congress should take up. And we've heard that -- we don't know if that's something they're going to be willing to take up. But I think they absolutely have to. People are frustrated. Immigration needs to be reformed. We need comprehensive illegal -- I mean, immigration reform. We certainly need to secure our borders.

But we got to figure out a way to deal with the 12 million undocumented workers that are here in our country. And that's what we expect Congress to do. That's what we expect our president to do. And until then, we in Los Angeles want to send a message that we don't want other states to follow Arizona and we hope that...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you might want -- you might want to -- you might be more effective in partnering up with Arizona and others and saying to the federal government, you know, It's about time you make good on your promise. I got to run and...

HAHN: And I think...


HAHN: I think, actually, there will be a loud chorus of voices in this country now demanding that they take up immigration reform.

VAN SUSTEREN: And that is, indeed -- oddly enough, that is their job and it's not anybody else. Anyway, thank you very much for joining us.

HAHN: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now to Arizona, where tonight they have a new controversy. And yes, it is ungluing people. It is a new Arizona law just signed by Governor Jan Brewer. Now, the law bans certain classes from being taught in Arizona public schools. Three classes banned include classes designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group, classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government and classes that promote resentment towards a race or class of people.

Arizona state representative Steve Montenegro joins us live. Good evening. And what brought about this bill?

STATE REPRESENTATIVE STEVE MONTENEGRO, R-ARIZ.: Good evening, Greta. Well, it's a pleasure to be with you. I got to tell you, as I came to the legislature, the public and school instruction (ph) program, the superintendent came to me and asked me to run this bill because there is a problem with one of the public -- excuse me, I'm getting -- one of the -- there's a problem with one of the public school districts that is employing (ph) and allowing there to be a curriculum that teaches a separatist agenda here in the state. And so you know, it is our job to protect the students and to make sure that they're going to there to learn what parents are sending them to learn.

And so what this bill does is really simple. It is -- it makes sure that public school students are being taught to respect each other and to treat each other and value each other as individuals and not to hate or resent other races or classes of people. And that is what we're trying to do with this bill. Now, there is evidence...

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I -- let me just say -- let me ask you -- I think it's -- I mean, as I look at this, I'm actually quite struck. Are there actually classes taught in Arizona where they're promoting resentment towards race or a class of people? And are there actually classes in Arizona where they -- where they promote the overthrow of our government? This is actually taught and encouraged?

MONTENEGRO: Yes, that is correct. And the evidence is there. We've had -- for example, one of the teachers from the school district in this program actually -- La Raza studies or others have -- you've seen that they have the pedagogy of oppression. There's teachers that have come out and testified that they're teaching students that they are oppressed, that the white man is oppressing them and that they are victims. It is an agenda teaching victimology.

And there -- for example, there's one of the textbooks that they use states -- it's occupied America. It states, We are fed up, we're going to move away and do away with the injustices done to Chicano and other gringo, quote, unquote, and if the gringo, quote, unquote, doesn't get out of our way, we're going to stampede over him. The same guy -- the same guy is quoted as saying, you know, Kill the white man.

And so there's a lot of evidence that has been brought us to, and we just simply can't ignore it. And it brings an inherent...

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, I can -- I mean, I certainly, you know, see how we should appreciate sort of the richness of our vast differences and backgrounds. I mean, I certainly can appreciate that. A class that is specifically taught on overthrowing the U.S. government -- you know, that's a stunner.

MONTENEGRO: Well, it is. And this is an inherent problem that we have in public education. Parents send their children, students, to public schools to learn reading, writing and arithmetic skills, not to be taught to, you know, hate or have resentment toward other races, not to be taught that they are victims or educated to be victims. They're not sent there to schools -- public schools that promote victimology and have, you know, teachings that are pushing for the overthrow of the U.S. government, especially not when they're doing them with money, the taxpayers' money. It's just incredible that something like this would be happening.

VAN SUSTEREN: I imagine that this is -- just this dispute is just growing. And we're going to continue to follow it as it develops because I imagine there's a lot going on both sides of this one in terms of people being angry. Representative Montenegro, thank you very much.

Content and Programming Copyright 2010 Fox News Network, Inc. Copyright 2010 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.