April 23rd, 2010
10:56 AM ET

Obama slams Arizona immigration bill

President Obama criticized a controversial new immigration bill in Arizona on Friday, calling it "misguided."

"Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," the president said at a naturalization ceremony for members of the military.

"In fact, I've instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation. But if we continue to fail to act at the federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country."

He added, "As a nation, as a people, we can choose a different future - a future that keeps faith with our history, with our heritage, and with the hope that America has always inspired in the hearts of people all over the world."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Immigration
soundoff (410 Responses)
  1. Jamillah

    Finally, you DO realize that all of your ancestors came here "illegally", as well, right? Just because they were European doesn't man they didn't flood in in incredibly large numbers and took, in some cases, many generations to learn the language.

    Remember that Ellis ISland was set up as a means to grant AMNESTY to the millions of immigrants that overwhelmed our shores. NOBODY was applying for citizenship before arriving, nor engaging in the tedious, expensive and time-consuming process we now refer to as "legal immigration". No, they simply flooded in and we granted them AMNESTY at the gates.

    If you want to dislike Mexicans for whatever reason, go ahead - but please stop pretending that European migration was somehow more valid than the current wave of migration..

    Remember, too, that Americans then considered Irish, Italians, and Germans as uneducated, unwelcome drains on our society who were routibnely discriminated against. LAst century's "Mexicans", so to speak.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. BB

    Obama does make it sound like the states are stupid and incompetent. He doesn't see the BS that goes on in AZ on daily basis – robbery, murders, home invasions etc... mostly at the hands of drug and human smuggling organizations from Mexico. These words coming from a way under qualified president makes me sick. He's the one who is miguided. I sure as hell didn't vote for him. Thank god Napalitano's out of AZ too.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    I am Hispanic and I live in Arizona. I was born here as were both my parents. I have no problem with the state cracking down on illegal immigration. In fact, I think they need to do more to stop it. But I do have a problem with being a lawful US citizen and the police having a reason now just to stop me because the color of my skin. Not everyone who is against this bill is sympathetic towards illegal immigrants. We're against it because it gives police a reason to stop lawful citizens based on what they look like. Of course 70% of Arizonans and the rest of the country support this bill–YOU'RE WHITE. No police officer is going to bother asking you if you're a citizen if you have a white complexion. I understand feelings against illegal immigration run high–I don't approve it anymore of the rest of the US. It's a slap in the face to both sets of my grandparents who came to this country legally. But this bill is misguided and tramples on the very rights we cherish as Americans.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. young

    Alli,

    You carry your birth certificate or passport everywhere you go? You'd be the only one I know.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. Christie

    Dear Mr. President,

    I agree with your statement. This country was built from the backs of people of color. Yet it is hard to believe that any state government would allow the exclusion of
    a group of people because of their color.

    America is a melting pot of cultures and races. In order for all people to receive fair treatment the Federal government must stand ready to enforce the laws and the constitution established by our founding fathers.

    Immigration issues always point to the Mexico borders but what about those who look like the people writing this law and come through Canada to get here. There are a lot of immigrants in this country illegally; but we can not treat them inhuman.

    The people seeking to contol our federal government are short sighted and need to learn the history of their country. Most immigrants know American History better then they do!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. Coyote

    Obama is for anything that will bring America down. His arrogance is intolerable. Why is his grandmother STILL in this country...and why isn't anyone asking him that question?
    But the biggest question I have is.....WHY ARE WE LETTING HIM GET AWAY WITH THIS CRAP????

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. diego

    power hungary?....lol that says it all. Illegals are killing our economy, lol. america is being overtaken by foreigners, lol. Illegal immigrants are killing our economy....lol. who are these people? 12 misguided, uneducated and bigoted fools. our economy sucks because we have become lazy and greedy. yes we are responsible...we the people...we the Americans. also, you dont have to be white to be an a american...this is not an Aryan Nation.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    How did this idiot ever get elected...I guess it was because he was a democrate and appealed to the idiots in our society.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. PD

    The bill does not solve the problem. For it to work, everyone needs to carry their proof of citizenship (including white/black US citizens). Drivers license does not prove american citizenship. A lot of people will end up spending a night at the Jail (multiple times) while their identity is checked. Republicans once again have demonstrated their dumbness. Arizona is on its way being worse than China.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jake

    I disagree with the President we be waiting for years for the White House to do something about the border, Ranchers are being killed, people get hurt, and nothing being done Mccain has done nothing no one has. I think we should stop all travel to Mexico, Stop all western unions then Mexico will help us stop the madness, Think about this what if we were having thousands of Russians coming across would we do something then.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. _aleph_

    Although I had written in Ron Paul for president even though he had quit the race, after the election, I had high hopes that Obama could pull a rabbit out of his hat and set the country on a reasonable course. How disappointing that he is socializing the country and being irresponsible with the country's finances. There is no free lunch. Someone must pay. You cannot share the wealth by taxing the rich, you can only share the poverty. If you took all of Bill Gates' assets, liquidated them and distributed the cash to all Americans, you wouldn't get a bunch of rich Americans, you would add Bill Gates to the ranks of the poor.
    _aleph_

    April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. henry z

    I am so glad to read the other comments, they assure you, you are not alone. My great grandparents did it the RIGHT way, what is so hard. What does our government not understand, do it leaglly. we seem to vote on it every year with the same result,NO. go Arizona, you seem to take the right stands, like your super cop! The states have the right, esp. if the feds cant get it done in a fair way, thats what i finally like about our gov. perry, he finally found a set. Try to sneak into any other country, and see hoe well your taken care of.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. Teresa

    Which part of illegal do people not understand? I have property in AZ (undeveloped) just a few miles off the border. Every year, I spend countless hours picking up trash and repairing fences thanks to illegals. My tax dollars are spent on medical care for those that are injured, overcome by heat etc, or those that are pregnant looking to deliver on this side. I applaud AZ for doing what the federal government has been unwilling or unable to do.
    As for those upset that the legals will have to carry documentation – when I go overseas, I have to carry a passport. Deal with it. Racial profiling – sure. But I was driving through a predominantly african american area the other day and got pulled over because I was out of place. That's racial profiling too! Am I going to call the ACLU? No.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. Edwin Pereira de Andrade

    Immigration officers have a duty so do police and other law enforcement officials. The law of the country says you need to come to this country legally.
    I am an immigrant and it took me 13 years before I was welcomed to this country in 1989. Why should some one jump over the fence and claim all the rights in this country. If you think you should not be stopped /questioned do not jump the fence and come in legally.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Barty

    In response to "really?" at 11:04,
    In many cases becoming a legal citizen is significantly harder than – if not impossible – than you might think. That is the problem with the iummigration laws – there is a lack of reasonableness in how to become a legal citizen;
    Let's say your Mother leaves Columbia for the US after her husband is shot by drug trafficklers and she is blackmailed. She arrives here illegally with you as a 10 year old son. You grow up here, start a business, employ people (legally), pay taxes, buy a house, pay your mortgage on time, are not dependent on anyone.
    In the meantime, your Mother returns home.
    Now, you are currently classed as Illegal. How do you become a lgeal citizen? Go try. Go spend days at an immigration office in Atlanta, 500 miles from where you live.
    When you find out how, let me know. because I know someone who has been waiting 8 YEARS trying to do this legally. And they haven't received one penny in governemnt assistance ever. They have paid thousands to attorneys to "help them" through the process though.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
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