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. Sniffit

    This is easily understood. AZ legislature had a choice:

    Anger the business-owning, campaign-donating community by making staet laws that more severely punish and deter hiring of illegal immigrants and effectively supplement and gap-fill for federal enforcement...i.e., laws that would actually work if vigorously enforced...OR

    Screw the latino community by pandering to angry white conservative racist birther Teahadists who can't stand that they're quickly becoming a minority, enacting laws that institutionalize systemic profiling and really do nothing to supplement federal enforcement...i.e., laws that will easily result in widespread civil rights abuses if zealously enforced. The added benefit, tho their thinking, is that the law will be challeneged on Constitutional grounds and, they hope, be upheld by the conservative majority on the SCOTUS based on "states' rights," which we all know is a lingering sore spot for the people who babble about revolt and secession every single time the Dems win the WH or Congress.

    See? Simple. Now you understand the choice they made.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. Robert Lee

    It appears that the people on this board who support the Arizona law have not read it. This law targets one group of people and will unquestionably lead to unconstituional searches and seizures of American citizens, and some illegal aliens.

    Of course the people who illegal aliens won't be affected by the bill. It is the people who are here legally who upon "reasonable suspicion" of being here illegally, whatever that means, who will be affected by the law.

    The law will be struck down as unconstitutional soon after it is signed by the Governor of Arizona.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. JBrennan

    Immigration whether illegal or legal is the responsibility of the national government, not individual states. Otherwise why have a United States at all? Has the federal government let down the people of Arizona by not acting sooner? Yes. Is the current legislation in Arizona a violation of civil right? Yes. Why would the leader of a country not speak out against a law that over steps federal authority? This is racial profiling. Arizona, and specifically Sheriff Joe Arpaio, already have a terrible record of harassing legal US citizens because of the color of their skin. Immigration reform is necessary but targeting groups of people by skin color really isn't the way to go. It is a slippery slope people. And I also believe that WVLady47 has her facts extremely misconstrued along with most others who have already posted. If you want to protect the international border, why are any of you in support of a law that allows city police to demand citizenship papers from a person walking down the street? If you want to have more border security go for it but random searches, seizures, and violation of due process doesn't sound like border security to me.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    OK Sherwood and other who will be willing to pay $20 for an omelet at Denny's or $7 a head of lettuce. While 16 million Americans are out of work, these 'Illegal scum bags" are keeping the cost of fruit and vegetables low and they're providing many people with day labor for cheap. Who is going to "train" the local police departments how to "correctly" profile a "citizen" The municipalities in Arizona are laying people off by the 100's, Mesa has to deal with the Cubs leaving and Arizona losing 20 Million dollars annually to keep them here. So lets get rid of these "scum bags" and go further into recessions...

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ann

    @ She... "we are all immigrants.. remember?"

    Yes, you're right..we are all immigrants..immigrants whose parents and grandparents came over LEGALLY and LEARNED ENGLISH.
    I have no problem with immigrants, My problem is with all the ILLEGAL immigrants. It isn't fair to Americans who work hard every day or the immigrants waiting in line to come over the right way!! Good for you Arizona!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dinah

    This is all about Arizona wanting candidates who are on their ballots to prove they are eligible to be on the ballot.
    Please Mr. President, uphold states rights. I for one side with Arizona on the immigration issue. Too many people come to this great country and expect to be given EVERYTHING on a silver platter. Sorry, I work for my money. Learn the language and get a job, if not, then leave. It's simple really.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Lee

    It's all so easy to blame our country's problems on others. If not illegals, it's immigrants, or gays or blacks. People forget that when the economy was soaring, illegals took the menial jobs and jobs at McDonald's the NO ONE else would because of the low wages (thank you, GOP, and your opposition for years to decent minimum wages). The AZ bill is dangerous because it gives police free rein to stop, question and hassle anyone they "suspect" as being illegal. It harkens back to the days of segregation and racial profiling and is likely unconstitutional. KInd of like giving carte blanche to big business ... and we see where that has gotten us. We can't be truly free as long as the tyranny of the majority runs over any minority. That's unAmerican.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. david

    Proud to be an American, and proud to show my identification!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. JUST ME


    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. fishdog

    I must say, love him or hate him, Rush Limbaugh has been so right on target with this. Obama is slamming the bill and if he grants amnesty to illegals, he is assured of their vote. That is the ONLY way he would be re-elected. Even liberals are starting to see what he is about. About time!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. Legal Inmigrant

    I recently became a US resident and then citizen, and I fully support a tougher stand on illegal immigration. The government must make it much harder for those who choose to break the law by illegally coming and staying in the US, and make it easier for those who go through the efforts to legally become part of this society. Those who come illegally have values that are likely un-american.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Roberto Gallstone

    The president is right that there are problems with immigration in our country, but the bill in Arizona is NOT the way to handle it. All those commentors above who immediately blasted the president and said it was a good bill, have you read what it does or even know what the implications of it are? How will a cop know who to ask papers from? Or is a cop now supposed to ask every single person he comes into contact with for their papers? Talk about big government!!!! I don't want to ever walk down the street in america and have a law enforcement official say "papers, please!" Is this Nazi Germany with soldiers looking for Jews or what? Too many people who are here properly and legally are going to be harassed because of this bill if it gets signed into law. There will be lawsuits out the wazoo! Find another solution.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Rabbi Elie Ben Gurion

    Its amazing how banal and dogmatic this immigration debate has become. Behind it of course is a undercurrent of xenophobia. No one mentions that Arizona itself was taken from Mexico by violence and force in the 19th century and now Mexican nationals are considered 'illegal" for migrating back to their historic lands. This debate and the fences created by it will ensure the long term decline of America. What America needs is a greater, not lesser, flow of people and goods across the border on both sides. We should strenthgen NAFTA and enourage greater trade between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Pam

    Obama just wants to grant these lawbreakers amnesty so he can get their votes in 2012. Well Obama the will of the people will not be ignored! Stick to your guns Arizona and I hope Texas implements this next!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. Layla

    This American is PROUD of what Arizona is doing. They are enforcing the law.

    If the Federal government continues to refuse to secure our borders, the states will do it for them.

    Enough is enough. Want to become a citizen? GREAT....do it legally.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
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