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
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  1. RobM

    Police always ask for a drivers license anyway... whats the big deal. We are the only country in the world that doesn't enforce our immigration laws, and whose police are not allowed to ask for I.D. or citizenship documents. Also, it infuriates me that thousands of illegal immigrants are in each taxpayer funded college, while American citizens are denied enrollment, at taxpayer expense. Also it pisses me off that UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara etc. each have over 6,000 foreign students (on visa) attending getting an excellent college education, at taxpayer expense, while denying a college education to American working class students. Then these immigrants move back to their home country. I think the UC and State colleges like the prestige of having genius rich foreign kids study at their university,.... but they are denying a college education to California taxpaying working class families! Outrageous!

    April 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Disappointed

    Furthermore, the segment of the Latino population in this country that cares about the rule of law needs to be heard. Unfortunately, because of the manner in which portions of our "free" press operate, all you see on the evening news is Latinos protesting against efforts to control illegal immigration. I fear that this one-sided exposure in the press is serving to typecast the latino population as a group of people who do not respect the rule of law. This is unfortunate, since legal immigration is crucial to our nation's growth.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Marie

    WVLady47 says "America is being taken over by foreigners..." America is a nation of foreigners...from its founding. The Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock were foreigners. Every colony in this country was populated by foreigners. Much of this country was acquired by those foreigners slaughtering the people who lived here and taking their land or cheating them out of their land because they deemed those people "lesser than" them. Now the descendants of the foreigners are the "Americans" screaming about "taking back OUR COUNTRY." The people whose country this actually is, are largely housed on pitiful reservations in THEIR COUNTRY, are still deemed "lesser than" and too many descendants of the foreigners feel the same wild-eyed disdain for them that they express toward other people. Though many of the founding foreigners themselves did not practice what they preached, they did codify a principle that really needs to inform our present conversations about the problems in this country: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." If the descendants of the founding foreigners and all the rest of us don't stop demonizing people who are different from us and by our example teaching our children to hate, to abuse, to devalue human life and to resolve differences with bitter rhetoric, force and violence, there will not be a country to take back nor one for the foreigners to take over.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. JR

    For all those who are bellyaching about the "horrors" of having to carry around "papers" – keep in mind that legal citizens and residents of this country possess a SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. You might want to keep that handy...good grief, how hard do you think it is to prove your legality in this country??? Wake up people – those who have the hardest time are those who are not here legally. I work with many international colleagues that have a visa to be here, and they most definitely keep their "papers" close by – not because we're a "Hitler society", but because they are required for them to obtain and maintain their jobs, as well as travel in and out of the U.S. Of course I don't walk down the street with my birth certificate, social security card, etc. – but I do possess a driver's license (by law, since I drive), which is linked to those documents should any police officer run my license. The vast majority of people who live and work here legally can prove it with little or no effort.

    And for those who think Airzona is becoming a "Nazi state", we are grilled more closely and expected to carry the dreaded "PAPERS" to board any airplane in this country, regardless of destination.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tomini

    Those that attack the state of Arizona for doing what their federal government won't must never step outside their backyards. As someone who worked overseas for one year I know first hand what anyone who has worked outside of the US knows. YOU NEVER GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT YOUR PAPERS. Why should it be any different here? If you are here legally you should have no problems. If you aren't go back where you came from. Simple enough, those of you screeching racial profiling are just trying to hide that you are here illegally. Leave before you get caught.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. She..

    Its a good thing the administration of your parents and grandparents didnt feel the fay you people do.. You wouldnt have the rights and privlages you have today. Imigration didnt make anyone a criminal.. People risk their lives for a better life..that is the story of this nation..

    Why don't you point a finger at the real issue, Poverty. Thats what makes people criminal.. Get these folks papers so they can work and we can collect tax dollars from them.. working visas with limited benefits..

    a path to citizenship with full benefits for the good faith effort of being law biding citizens during the process..

    stop being ignorant bigots and stary making some solutions..

    April 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. X-AZ-resident

    Mexicans,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,There are Millions of LEGAL Mexicans that will be illegally stereotyped from
    this bill,,,,as for those living on the West Coast, Mexico was Purchased with a GUN,
    if I bring a gun to buy your house I will probably get it on sale, today it's a crime to buy
    land with a gun in the sellers face,,,,for Mexico it was sell, or die while I take it from you.
    so they sold, ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, YES TEXAS, LOS ANGELES, NEVADA, UTAH, SAN FRANCISCO,
    NEW MEXICO, LAS VEGAS, ALL MEXICO,,,,,,, These are all Mexican Names, cause it was Mexico
    till Purchased, so people really sound silly when they say go home to Mexico, your standing in it. If your a home owner, your house would have cost you about 100.000.00 more if ZERO Mexicans had worked on the place,,,,if your a fair as you say, send the 100,000.00 to the Mexican government (no lame excuses),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    ALSO bring a Indian Family to Thanksgiving Dinner and talk about living on a reservation.
    I am an American, I know when I am screwing people over, I know we can
    do better,

    April 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Reason

    Every time this topic is brought up, people try to make this a racial argument in attempts to draw on emotions and fuel the fire. I live in a state that borders Mexico, and the overall attitude is anything but.

    I don't hate hispanic people. I know people who are in this country illegally. It's not their fault that the system is broke, they are just here to earn a living. They aren't stealing American jobs, they are being used by greedy businesses to allow themselves more profit margin to put more money in their pockets. The price of a Big Mac didn't go down when McDonalds stopped hiring high school kids, yet the argument we've always heard is that the price of everything will go up if they have to provide benefits and pay a decent wage for these jobs that "Americans don't want". BS. They just don't want to give up the extra profit margin.

    What's fueling the sentiment for immigration reform is the recent (as in past 5-10 years) influx of the criminal element from Mexico and other Latin American countries taking up shop here. In my city, they have moved weed farms from Mexico up here to save money on transport and to help cut losses from stuff getting caught while crossing the border. Gang violence has risen dramatically. Last week, in my city alone, there were three seperate shootings by people who were in the country illegally. We continually see stories in the news here where people are killed by a drunk driver who was here illegally. In almost every case, those individuals had multiple DWI's on their record and local law enforcement was unable to do anything because of restrictions placed on municipalities being able to deport illegal aliens.

    We're tired of seeing innocent people getting killed by people who shouldn't be here and are only here to be a criminal. The federal government needs to ensure that people coming to this country are documented. They need to be able to prove that they are here to work (ie: work visa). To encourage registration, they need to force businesses to pay the legal minimum wage. And if local law enforcement encounters someone who isn't able to produce a visa, they should have the power to detain them until deportation (just like every other freakin country in the world!!).

    April 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. T Bender

    Obama should enforce the laws as he is required to by the Constitution Artical 2 Section 3; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed. All illegals violated these laws, and make them FELONS. • Social Security Act: In December 1981, Congress passed a bill to amend the Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981 to restore minimum benefits under the Social Security Act. In addition, the Act made it a felony to
    …willfully, knowingly, and with intent to deceive the Commissioner of Social Security as to his true identity (or the true identity of any other person) furnishes or causes to be furnished false information to the Commissioner of Social Security with respect to any information required by the Commissioner of Social Security in connection with the establishment and maintenance of the records provided for in section 405(c)(2) of this title.

    Violators of this provision, Section 208(a)(6) of the Social Security Act, shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.

    • Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act: In October 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (Public Law 105-318) to address the problem of identity theft. Specifically, the Act made it a federal crime when anyone
    …knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.

    Violations of the Act are investigated by Federal investigative agencies such as the U.S. Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and prosecuted by the Department of Justice.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kenneth

    I sympathize with the crime problem faced by residents of Arizona and other border states due to the influx of criminal illegal aliens but I don't believe this law is the right way to address it. A local cop in the middle of the night on a dark road, pulling over a car with three men in it who he "suspects may be illegal immigrants" (how he came to that suspicion is anyone's guess) sounds eerily similar to three men who were pulled over on a dark road in Mississippi in 1964. The potential for blatant misuse of the law to allow will do catastrophic harm to community policing efforts. Where are the limits on the law? What's to stop a cop of any skin color from approaching any group of people of any other skin color on the street (who have committed no crime and may be natural-born Americans) and harassing them for their "papers". Sounds a bit like Soviet Russia to me.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Debbiedoo

    Arizona, Mexicans were ok as long as they were quiet and doing your menial jobs,but now they are outspoken and educated you want to resort to Hitler like tactics against them, but you have to nerve to call Obama Hitler. And why do white Americans complain about Mexicans taking cleaning and fast food jobs that they by majority will not do. Why don't you complain to the white people who do the hiring. You complain about Mexicans not working and then complain when they do.This is the same thing you said about black Americans.And why all the complaining about Obama. The four presidents before him should have aggressively enforced immigration laws. Arizona as well as most Americans has become the blame Obama for everything country. I believe the killing and raping of our children by adults and priests, American sex slaving, lying politicians, and the billions Americans spend on child pornography should get a louder shout out than most of what is being heard. But what the heck, JUST BLAME OBAMA.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jblass667

    You make me sick, I am from Tijuana bull sh**. You are not and probably never been out of the back woods of Mississippi. Republican always blame other people for there failures. Every day your racism and hate for those who do not agree with you or are not your color/race grows more and more disturbing. There are people who right these comments just to draw out recruits and cause a battle between individuals who can disagree but in a civilized way. Unlike this idiot (elkplk), he parents are probably brother and sister.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeremy

    This is outrageous. I wonder what would happen if a foriegn people invaded America and started killing us in masses like the Indians that were killed when Europeans came to America. I wonder what would happen if we placed the remaining Americans in rural tribal area and enclosed them. I wonder what would happen if Canada invaded America and decided to take all the Northern States and make them Canadian states. After all, thats what Europeans did with California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and others.

    Im for giving citizenship to all Illegals in this country and making them pay taxes. After that is completed then protect the border so that we don't have the same issues we have today. And by the way, just because your illegal doesn't mean your a criminal. We have lots of legal citizens that I would like to send to Mexico or somewhere other the America.

    Think about what you say.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. T Bender

    Obama is aiding & abetting these illegals in their commission of these felonies by not prosecuting them for Social Security fraud, and ID theft, and by doing so is committing a criminal act, and thus can by impeached per Constitution Article 2 Section 4; The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    This doesn't even address the unfairness of America's citizen being held to these laws while illegals are not.

    April 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. X-AZ-resident

    Obama has won the WORLD Peace Prize for a reason,
    HOPE,,,,,,,,,,it's a very powerful item, just like hate,
    I plan to stay hopeful, it comes with smiles and laugh lines,
    hate breeds disparity and uglyness,

    April 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
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