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. James Cantrell

    I think I figured out why Obama doesn't want to enforce immigration laws. If he did he would have to deport himself and other family members.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. henry z

    I also read that my ancestors came here illleaglly, i still have the copies of documents where they bought the land from Mexican owners, they didnt take anything.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. char

    Being afraid to profile people is why the foot hood shooter was able to get away with killing pople. we need to quit worrying about hurting peoples feelings and protect innocent life!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Patrick C. Tempel

    The problem is that it discriminates against anyone who a police officer thinks might be here illegally,meaning mostly people of Mexican heritage,like my nephews. Lolk at yourself in the mirror and think about what it would be like to be pulled over because of the facial characteristics that you have in common with your ancestor's country.I'm boycotting Arizona until the courts strike down this law.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  5. Matt

    I am tired of this ignorant president, and his total disregard of the American people and our laws and constitution!!!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Blame Wall Street

    Yeah, I'm so sure illegal immigrants are taking away all the kinds of manual labor jobs you want so badly that involve serving your lazy, fat, ignorant American behind at McDonalds or cleaning the toilets that you sit on, or taking care of your kids that you should be caring for, or hand picking the fruits and vegetables that stuff your bellies.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Petey

    The irony of this statement is in its political cynicism. The president is speaking out against Arizona's drastic measures as an introduction to federal immigration reform, by which the president and Congress will 1) grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already in the country, and 2) impose Arizona-like measures upon all post-reform illegal immigrants. Our country has just committed itself to insuring every person in the country for health care costs. We cannot manage those costs without drastically restricting immigration – economically, we have no other choice. But we have to make this politically palatable by allowing those already in the country to stay – Arizona's failure do do that is the only basis of the president's opposition. The president isn't against requiring immigrants to carry their papers – he's merely against requiring it of immigrants who arrived before 12/31/2010. On Pennsylvania Avenue, this is called political compromise. On Main Street it's called hypocrisy.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tom Arnold

    I hope you are reading these comments Mr. Obama WE THE PEOPLE rember that line?

    April 23, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joshua

    @really? Your family came to America when immigration was likely at its high point. This new immigration policy also doesn't have anything to do with working hard.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    The only way we will ever stop illegal immigration is when us white people will start scrubbing toilets for a living. It will never happen. It is called supply and demand. Most of these people coming over work their butts of to feed their families. Something our great grandparents used to do 100 years ago. This new generation of Americans who keep saying they should wait on line like the rest of us, are hypocritical since they never had to wait on line by being lucky enough to born here like me. If you only realized how cruel this law is that can seperate a mother from her 3 year old child by being rounded up. I am so embarrased be these cruel and ignorant so-called Americans. America has no real natives except for Native Americans. I am all for deporting real actual criminals. But leave the descent hard working people alone.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ron

    I used to argue with ignorant people but realized they enjoy being ignorant. Can you explain to me how you recognize an illegal immigrant? Do you go and round up all the people at the hardware store. Wrong – You will get some but how many Americans are caught up in that effort. Do you pick up everyone that does not speak English fluently? Wrong – I bet if you check with any past immigrants, you will see that language is not fully picked up until the 3rd generation. If you are truly concerned about public safety and illegal immigrant gangs, why don’t you arrest somebody? Lock them up and ship them back to wherever they are coming from. That would probably be too hard; it is much easier to round up everybody. I would love to see how you would like this if we were looking for European illegal immigrant gang members. I could bet you a million dollars that you would be pulled over and you would be hollering about how it infringed on your freedom. Ignorance is bliss.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. This is dumb.com

    All Blacks and Hispanics should leave the State of Arizona for a minimum of 50 years and watch the ripple affects to the economy. This will cause massive economic devastation and prove once and for all that this racist concept is misguided and destructive. Give them the state all to themselves and dont allow any of our kids to attend their colleges or even spend a dime in this hate laced state. Ten years from now Arizona will resemble a third world country and will then begin to understand the value of everyone in this Great Society that we all built.



    April 23, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. John Smith

    Arizona is one of the states I would not visit or take trip. Is not the state that I have the problem, as it is a very beautiful state, bu the people who live there. My god! People there seem to be living in the past, instead of moving forward are completely moving backwards.

    Perhaps it is true of what they think of Arizona, being the butthole of America.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Conove

    Like many of you who have written, my parents immigrated here from Europe. Before they were allowed entry into the US, they had to have a sponser, a job waiting for them, and they had to learn English. They did all these things, and thrived. They cringe when they see what's become of our country. Illegal means illegal. Period. States are going to have to take these measures because the federal government has done NOTHING but promote the illegals. This administration is trying to get it's hands into every corner of our lives. GOOD FOR YOU, ARIZONA!! Hopefully other states will follow suit.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. ACB

    The new legislation, which was written by state Sen. Russell Pearce, resembles the dictates of an authoritarian government. It would presume all those stopped by police to be immigrants unlawfully present in the United States unless they are carrying one of several forms of federal or state ID. Even citizens could be held if they do not have their papers on them.

    Those here illegally would be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Aliens here legally, who are not in possession of their registration documents, could be fined $500 and jailed for six months.

    Police agencies that do not enforce federal immigration law "to less than the full extent permitted," according to the bill, could be sued by any legal Arizona resident and fined anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 a day.

    How is this new legislation different from the laws of nazi germany forcing jews to wear a yellow star to make identification of them easy?

    April 23, 2010 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
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