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. lawyer

    please take not of the constitution- the federal government, although needs to acknowledge state sovereignty may override individual state actions, so long as the state contradicts federal law. here, we are looking at two volitile issues: racial profiling and unlawful search and seizure without probable cause. country of origin falls under intermediate scrutiny, that is an enactment of police which furthers an important governmental interest in a way that is substantially related to said interests.

    this law grants gives state and local police broad powers to, among other things, check people’s immigration papers if they reasonably suspect they are in the country illegally. the key phrase here is reasonably suspect, not probable suspicion. police encounters that create a reasonable belief of seizure, such as this type of stop, require probable cause; a reasonable person in the defendant's position would not feel free to leave police presence. there's arizona's first hurdle.

    next is racial profiling. arizona lawmakers must demonstrate that the enactment of the law furthers and important governmental interest and said enforcement is substantially related to said interests. nitpicking several of the reasons az politicians have demonstrated, two stand out: lower crime and increase job opportunities. first, illegal status does not demonstrate a propensity for crime. it may be a catalysit, but to say that all immigrants are potential criminals does not warrant the removal of all aliens from arizona. the interest lies at tougher boarder enforcement, not the roundup of pre-existing illegal aliens.

    additionally, the law cannot be enforced using the lack of jobs argument. as stated earlier, the interest lies at prevention, not deportation. the use of this law to open jobs for americans will create more criminal enterprises in both foreign countries and the united states. this will ultimately compromise u.s. efforts to protect our boarders. the job argument is counterintuative to the law's intial intent.

    besides the overwhelming similarities to McCarthism, Gestapo-esqe initiatives, and bigotry in general, the bill is a mess. i typically don't post on forums, but it appears that a majority of you are highly biased and misinformed. before making your biases known, be rational and do some homework

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Anonymous

    As "misguided" as AZ laws appear to be, Mr. Obama hit it on the head when he implies its the government's inactions that have lead to this.

    I am a hispanic card carrying member of the DAV living in a border state and I find it revolting that my kids school district has to pay part of my tax dollars to educate a bunch of illegals' kids who dont "habla". These same kids also receive first rate health insurance on my Medicaid dime even though their parents are somehow able to afford a nicer vehicle than my little 10 year old corolla (I only say this because the unlicensed and uninsured mexican national who hit my moms vehicle was driving a very nice Jeep Rubicon..who paid...my mom from higher premiums)

    I also do disability adjudication for SSA and when I see a claimant applying for disability with PO Box address along the US border towns, but their recent doctors visits are deep in Mexico (Places like San Pedro, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potilo to name a few) I can only conclude that my money (and yours) is going directly to Mexico and supporting their economy. Believe me, this kind of claim is not uncommon.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chicago

    You guys are all whining about immigrants taking your jobs? Oh please, you wouldnt work in the industries they do, especially for the wages most illegal immigrants do. Maybe stop complaining about Obama, and do what he did, GO TO SCHOOL, KEEP NETWORKING AND PUSHING YOURSELF HARDER, KEEP APPLYING YOURSELF (and for jobs) AND STOP BLAMING EVERYONE ELSE FOR YOUR LACK OF SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Keith B

    @ Marc

    And let me remind you that clearly 5 years AFTER 9/11, one GWB administration STILL had NOT secured the Mexican border!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Elizabeth

    I agree with President Obama. Call it what you want to call it, this is racial profiling. This is targeting one group because of the color of their skin. That's all we need, another nutty State who will persecute people like they did during the Salem witch trials.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hugh Alvarado

    It is so disappointing to read so many comments that are fueled by xenophobic fears. Most of these are ignorant and have no ground for support. President unlike most of the people commenting is an altruistic and sympathetic human being. You guys/gals can't see past matters that only affect you. Please sit back and think about humanity and society as a whole before you criticize a President that understands the needs of all that live in this great country.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. kensga

    what would be the incentive to hire illegals if you had to pay them the same pay and benefits as someone who's here legally? I think you have to go after those who employ them.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. KN

    Illegal immigration is a problem no denying there. But to deal with that problem why burden the citizens to carry important documents like birth certificate or passport or a legal resident card. These documents are important documents and usually are kept in lockers. What are kids going to do? There has to be a better way than this.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. YEYO

    Obviously all of you MORONS do not know what you are talking about! The only reason the illegals are here is so they can work the jobs that NONE of us spoiled Americans Do NOT want to work in including Carwashes, Landscaping, Picking the fields etc....

    BTW Lesli I bet you voted for him.....

    April 23, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. rj0297

    Mr. President, you can’t stand up there at tell a State that is actually applying a fix to a very serious problem (within the boundaries of their own State) that they are “misguided”.

    Who the heck made you the litmus test on what is misguided and what is not?

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brooks

    To all of you that are ok with the illegals coming here, we'll make sure that all the molesters and perverts go pay you a visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now are you still ok with them coming here illegal????

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. VB from NJ

    Didn't Hitler get started this way?

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. fishdog

    This is a PERFECT example of why we don't want big government. They make a disaster of everything they do. Republicans, Democrats, independents, tea party patriots will unite on this one. We ALL have to show a cop our ID if asked for it, why is this so different? I don't want to hear how UNFAIR we are being to illegals. Does not make sense,

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. K.H.

    Wow. Is this the blog for people who just love to hate and are not happy with their lives? Come on we are talking about human lives. It is really sad to see that everybody wants to blame illegals for their failures. That is the problem of this country; we love to blame others for our mistakes. Nobody likes to take responsibility for their actions. Jobs are not being taken away; people earned them by working hard. If people will concentrate more in loving, giving and getting an education, this country would be something else.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. swivel63

    it's better than giving amnesty to illegal immigrants. i don't understand why hispanics make it THEIR issue. there are 40-50 million hispanics in this country. 12 milliion illegals, 10 million of which are hispanic. so if that 10 million is included in the 40-50, then around a quarter to a fifth of hispanics are illegal. don't like the law, then get your papers.

    and to all the idiots who say we're all immigrants.....

    this isn't an immigration issue, this is an ILLEGAL immigration issue. people who bypass the laws are breaking the laws.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
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