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. romanfirst

    Very scary situation here. When the day comes and they start asking everyone for their papers of citizenship and the start "interning" everyone because nobody has such proof...

    DL, birth cert.,whatever, it can all be questioned. Fake ID's are everywhere. So this means we need a national ID card...Slippery slope here. If you want less Federal Govt. than be careful what you want to implement at the state level.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rtreble

    I am all for legal immigration but to stop people in the streets and start asking for their identification and some way of proving you are a citizen is wrong.

    If they are illegal then you have to go after the people who give them jobs. The employer who is benefitting from them being here. The people who are selling this country out are the business owners, NOT OBAMA. Cut your own grass. Dig your own holes. Don’t do business with a company who uses illegal workers. No jobs will mean a huge reduction in the number of illegal immigrants.

    I was born and raised here but if you asked me for proof of citizenship I would have nothing but a drivers license. That is not proof. Off to jail I go?

    What about Canadians? Do we stop all the people who look like Canadians too. That would include most of you I’m sure. Here in NY we have a few immigrants. Believe it or not, not all of them come from Mexico. This is a bad, short sited plan. It is also unconstitutional, it violates our right to privacy.

    The right calls Obama Hitler and then would support this? This comes right out of Hitler’s handbook. Get informed before you start to complain.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. Anthony

    White folks kill me about pretending to be so "American" but couldn't care less about upholding the principles and laws on which this country was supposed to be founded, like "...protection against unlawful search and seizure..." As an African-American and former law-enforcement officer, allow me to sell you a clue. It is unconstitutional to detain people merely based on appearance when there is no other "probably cause" to believe that the person in question has committed a crime. I'll be the first to agree that the federal gov't has failed us in stopping the flow of illegal immigrants. HOWEVER, the very "due process" you people chose to disregard, may one day turn out to be your own or maybe that of your son's and daughter's. If this law is passed, what check and balance is there to legally prohibit over-zealous law-enforcement officers from detaining any they chose mere based on the premise that a person "looked to be an illegal immigrant". As far as I am aware, there is no federal law requiring a US citizen to carry any government approved for of ID.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. andy--texas

    all these people are somewhat right about enforcing the law on illegal immigrants, the problem is what if you are chicano and the cops stop me and harass me while I am on my way to an important meeting and I miss my important meeting and I get fired, all because they wanted to check if I was an illegal. All I am saying is that this sounds like racial profiling anyone with brown skin is going to be harassed by the police because of this law, so it is easy for them people to talk because they are different color skin, I thought those days were over in this beautiful country (America) of mine.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Matt Berg

    To all the 'high and mighty' folks out there...first, the issue isn't necessarily the fact that illegal immigration has to be dealt with, it is HOW it is dealt with. With this legislation, people can be stopped and asked to produce 'papers' simply because of how they look, what they're wearing etc.. We are taking steps back 50 years to a time where racial profiling and discrimination was OK and accepted. Second, by the tone of many of your comments, I'm assuming that a large contingent aren't pro-big government people....so you're saying big government is okey-dokey when you say it is...only when your views are being exercised???? Illegal immigration is an issue that must be dealt with; but jumping to the extremes gets us nowhere. We need to utilize common sense and deal with it where people's human right's aren't violated. Remember, we were all immigrants at one time.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Disappointed

    GO ARIZONA! They acted, because they must. I'm a HUGE fan of legal immigration. Our cultural diversity is our greatest strength but also presents our greatest challenges. I'm saddened that we have a president who does not respect the rule of law. He sits in his ivory tower, makes beautiful political speeches ("our failure to act at the federal level") and does nothing. I'm not saying Bush was any better. Unfortunately, this problem HAS to be addressed at the state level by the states affected the most. The federal government is unwilling to sacrifice nationwide latino votes to fix the problems that (today) primarily exist in a small number of states. Why would Obama and the democratic congress sacrifice Illinois votes (Chicago has a huge latino population) for the sake of little old Arizona's problems? If the federal democrats (or republicans for that matter) acted responsibly to enforce our federal immigration laws, they would lose support from the fastest growing segment of our population. They won't do it. The states must act. In summary, Obama needs to act (not just talk) like a leader who cares about the rule of law or keep his mouth shut and let the states take care of business.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. dale rice

    We live in a country that maintains freedom by way of its military defending it, by doing
    so, we as citizens are allowed to roam about freely in our everyday lives,we are allowed
    to express ourselves with free speech,the right to bear arms,and vote for whoever we
    feel would best represent us. When government was first established,and laws were
    written, we as a people voted those referendums into law. When a person goes into the
    military, he or she raises there right hand and makes a pledge to uphold and defend the
    constitution of the US, and to honor and respect the chief of command,whether he is
    republican,democrat,independent,socialist,green party (etc) ,that person holds rank over
    all military rank and command. I am Native American,and so are all my brothers and sisters who served before,during,or after me, even though history shows that our Government waged war against us, and our blood was shed on soil in which every
    American stands on, I hold no grudge,that's why I joined the United States Marine Corps,
    I will defend this countries decisions in regards to illegal immigrants,and will do whatever is
    required to keep them out, if there are honest working people,and willing to pay taxes,
    and volunteer to serve in our armed forces,then I say,Hello!!! American.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. Henry Tyler

    The Illegal imagrant problem has been growing for a couple decades now not just the past year, people from other countries have been welcomed here for years and would be crossing our borders illegally in large numbers but distance makes it impossible for them to do so, lets find a less insulting way to address this problem keeping human dignity in mind.
    Hate is a cancer

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dev

    Thank you for acknowledging the insanity. I am from Arizona, and I can assure you that many of us are horrified by this bill. It is blatantly unconstitutional (4th amendment, 14th amendment equal protection clause...) and won't do anything to stop the violent crimes that Arizonans are concerned about. The bill forces police officers to investigate the citizenship of anyone they believe might be illegal (read hispanic), which is about a third of AZ's population by the way. Why waste officers time harrasing latinos (most of whom are LEGAL RESIDENTS), when they could be fighting violent crimes and protecting Arizonans of all color. AZ is turning into a police state and there will be serious repercussions if the Governor allows this to become law!

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Myrna C

    I can't take credit for the following. I received it in an email a while back, but
    I totally agree with it.

    Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind this issue.
    Let's say I break into your house.
    Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave.
    But I say, 'No! I like it here.
    It's better than my house. I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors. I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest
    (except for when I broke into your house)".
    According to the protesters:
    You are Required to let me stay in your house
    You are Required to feed me
    You are Required to add me to your family's insurance plan
    You are Required to Educate my kids
    You are Required to Provide other benefits to me & to my family (my husband will do all of your yard work because he is also hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

    If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my RIGHT to be there.
    It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself.
    I'm a hard-working and honest, person, except for well, you know, I did break into your house
    And what a deal it is for me!!!
    I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of cold, uncaring, selfish, prejudiced, and bigoted behavior.
    Oh yeah, I DEMAND that you learn MY LANGUAGE!!! so you can communicate with me.

    Why can't people see how ridiculous this is?! Only in America would people see it as "logical".

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Buster

    Number six you are right on. No more discussion is needed!!! Thank you for saying it....

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Matt Civ

    The amount of closet racists, or openly, in this thread is astounding. This law legalizes Racial profiling and is a mockery of the American legal system. If you want to hinder illegal immigration then press charges or heavy fines against employers who consistently higher them. I know too many business owners who b**** non stop about "ILLEGALS" coming into this country and stealing our jobs, then they go and higher 3 of them the next day. This isn't solely Obama's problem so stop crying fowl like little children, it's embarrassing.

    This law is the yellow star of the 21st Century to anyone who could possibly be mistaken for someone of Mexican decent. We don't need this or any other bigoted and racist bills in this country. You aren't entitled b/c you're white, don't forget that.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ryan

    It kills me (with laughter) to see all these commenter's notions that Obama is some huge socialist. Also to assume that a highly educated law scholar and current president of the US is an idiot, is in of itself an example of the lunacy and shear ignorance of most of the masses of this country screaming all kinds of nonsense that hey nothing about except maybe what they heard on Rush or Glen Beck or Obermann etc.
    The president's comments simply meant he is interested in protecting the personal freedoms of ALL Americans. Meaning that states rushing to enforce a non comprehensive immigration policy could lead the way for very unwanted results and impacts on personal freedoms all at the cost of stopping illegal immigration. I by no means support illegal immigration and I do support the deportation of illegals. However we have to think this out and have some sense and not react hastily. We have all seen what police do all over this country with their current level of authority(abuse, force, profiling) so what do you think will happen when we give them even more authority. We will end up encroaching on the rights of Latinos who are in this county legally because they will be stopped at every chance and hassled for their papers. This is not what the US stands for. Why create a police state to enforce a logistical issue? Both sides (right and left) need to come together to enact logical and operational standards to prevent the Illegal entry. This would mean diverting resources to border crossings and working with the Mexican government to make sure that once they are deported back there is significant punishment and the same goes for smugglers caught here in the US. Build a environment of deterrence and put logistics in place to enforce.
    Screaming for police state enforcement is in my view the very definition of UN-AMERICAN and hypocritical to begin with because you are complaining about government control and socialism and so on. Just freaking ridiculous. Don't knee jerk react to everything, use some logic and common sense and forethought.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Roger Bixley

    You don't need to enforce the borders, you don't need to racially profile.

    All you need to do is target the businesses that hire undocumented workers in the first place. If the businesses stop hiring illegals, they'll stop coming into our country. You'd think so-called "conservatives" would understand a simple financial concept like "supply and demand".

    April 23, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. X-AZ-resident

    I am a peaceful person, I was raised in AZ,,,John McCain, and (gov) Ev Mecham got rid of the DR. Martin Luther King Holiday, they said he was a criminal, and illegally demonstrated in the streets, and said he never did anything for this country, and that they could save the state millions by getting rid of the Paid Holiday of a man "useless to this country",,,,,,,,,
    AZ only has a Holiday now cause every performer, and sporting event, and entertainer that
    came to town, stopped the event to address the crowd, that if there is no holiday next year
    "we're not coming back" (equals state loses money) SOON after (Gov) Ev Mecham was impeached, and Mc Cain steeped
    aside like he did not do anything wrong,,,,,During his election he lied and said he lobbied for it's return without mentioning HE is the one who got rid of of the holiday,,,,,,,,,DR KING was
    murdered, or he would still be alive today,,,,,What do you think he would say about AZ today?, and what would he say to J. Mc Cain?
    NO JOBS,,,,,,,,, if I took all these things from you, would you behave yourself?
    (we are currently terrible neighbors to Mexicans)

    -----AZ has a large amount of Indian Reservations, same deal, put them on
    useless land, and forget them,,,,,,

    ---To Women, and Minorities I say this, The hard work, and demonstrations of Democrats is the only reason
    you are allowed to vote at all.....NONE of this is my opinion, Wikipedia any of the above.

    April 23, 2010 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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