Washington (CNN) – At a Rose Garden ceremony swearing in 24 immigrant members of the U.S. military as citizens, President Obama made his first direct comments on Arizona's controversial immigration bill.
Obama said, "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 undermined 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 bill would make it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally and allow police to stop anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally to demand they produce an alien registration document, a driver's license or other documents proving their legal status.
The president said he has instructed his 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," he said, "we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country."