April 23rd, 2010
11:13 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama calls Arizona immigration bill 'misguided'

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."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. j williamson

    My God, Rod Serling (the wonderful creator of the "Twilight Zone") could have wriiten this bill as part of one of his scripts.

    April 23, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. stevegee

    Decades ago, Senator Jesse Helms said, "close the borders" because he knew we would be inundated by illegals. They come here, work for cash, pay no taxes, and enjoy government benefits. It's time to end it!

    The only reason Obama and the Democrats want immigration reform now is so they can increase their block of voters via the gift of amnesty. How low will they go to keep their Socialist agenda marching forward?

    Hooray Arizona! The first of numerous states that will enact tougher immigration laws to protect the rights of legal American citizens.

    April 23, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. Denis

    The federal government has failed to control the Arizona border. In Phoenix drop houses or coyote groupsare being located in decent neighborhoods. In these houses the illegal immigrants are being held prisoners and being mistreated until their families back home come up with wire-transfer ransoms. The crime rate soars when numbers increase. Prisons are bursting with illegal immigrant perpetrators of crimes from murder to robbery, etc. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, Arizonans agree with the law by 70% while 23% disagree. We do not need a community organizer from Chicago, who continues the failure to protect our border and our people (and who is now content as President to tell us what is good for us), to pass judgment on Arizonans. He hasn't got a clue.

    April 23, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Tom in Delaware

    Yes, but have they 'acted stupidly?'

    April 23, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. notfooledbydistractions

    Why doesn't AZ just issue giant "A"'s to be attached to all citizens clothing – or perhaps armbands to designate the American citizens.

    We've seen these tactics before. Pathetic.

    April 23, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Sgt. USMC

    Thank you Mr. President.

    Glad to see someone looking out for the people and not just trying to gain conservative political points.

    McCain is the worst thing that has happened to politics in the last couple of years.

    He's up there with Bush.

    April 23, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  7. FM

    Why punish illegals now because of the failures of the past Administrations to act!

    April 23, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. LaChatte

    Arizona makes the Deep South and Utah seem forward-thinking!

    April 23, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Carolyn

    This Arizona law plays into the hands of Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attempts over the past few years to arrest anyone who looks Hispanic. He has "sweeps" manned by his volunteer "posse" that target any minor moving or non moving automobile violation as an excuse to ARREST anyone he wants. Most people in the rest of the country do not realize how many Hispanic people have centuries old roots in Arizona and New Mexico. But Sheriff Joe will still target all Hispanics. The Justice Dept. is investigating him on numerous fronts.

    April 23, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. JD in Moraga, CA

    "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."

    Not just "a driver's license," but an ARIZONA driver's license – this is because they can't positively verify everyone else's requirements for issuing a driver's license.

    If you aren't Caucasian, be prepared to be asked for your "papers" when in Arizona.

    April 23, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. RH

    "...the trust between police and their communities[?!]"

    Who trusts the police?! I know I don't.

    I have no problem with immigration so long as immigrants FOLLOW THE RULES. If a migrant has no respect for US immigration law, why should anyone expect him to respect any other US laws?

    April 23, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Eric 31m

    How else are we going to prevent illegals from entering this country. This is a national security and health issue. Who knows what kind of diseases these people are bring into out country. Legal aliens get the proper shots before they come here. Remember Ellis Island?!

    April 23, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Can the state of Arizona define Habeas Corpus this is why some politicians are not smart people. What if the GOP potentially decided all Hispanics should leave by law.

    April 23, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Mark from Louisiana

    obama is the one who is misguided, why he against everything that the majority of America wants? Is this something he learned from "Rules for Radicals"?

    April 23, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Jeff Spangler

    Bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks and replied "because that's where the money is". If you ask border state law enforcement why most people detained for immigration law violations are Latinos, they'd say "because that's where the suspects are". The feds are crippled by Obama's pantywaist policies and sanctuary communities refuse to enforce the law, so somebody's got to do it. There are serious questions of federal preemption and profiling, but Arizona's law can be tailored to be fair and effective.

    April 23, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    Attention all anti-immigration Christians;WWJD ? " Welcome the stranger". Mt.25,35.

    April 23, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  17. Biased

    Funny how democrats talk about National security at airports and have no problems when people are being forced to go through certain security above and beyond for the good of all – and they are always the first ones to utter the mantra – "Well, what's the problem – if you have nothing to hide it doesn't matter then does it?"
    So wouldn't the same qualifications apply here – if Arizonans are concerned about their safety then all those in the state legally should have no problems with carrying any info with them just in case and that would be everyone in the state. But then again I guess it's okay to generalize against a certain group of people and say they need more scrutiny but not okay for other groups of people who happen to be big democratic voters, you know the ones who are at this moment demanding immigration reform or one Rep. Guitierez(sp?) says he will tell his constituents to stay home n November.........

    April 23, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Victim of GOP Taliban

    The real issue is allowing fed or state govt to sue employers for hiring undocumented workers. Too bad George and the Republicans cared more about special interests like the Construction Industry Lobbyists using cheap labor vs taking immigration enforcement seriously the past 10 years.

    April 23, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Instead of accepting resposibility for my situation I choose to blame others that don't look like me. Otherwise I would have to look for a job, stop doing drugs and stealing weedeatrs from "those people" that took my job. On the other hand, let's face it, I'm lazy and full of hate! Peace and Love

    April 23, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    It is real easy for folks to condemn Arizona from behind a computer screen. Please tell me what your suggestions are? Still waiting. The racist cry is old. The only ones playing that card are those who cannot effectively debate the issues! Right liberals? Sad to know you STIll have a hard time understanding the word ILLEGAL, that is unless it applies to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (which by the way was supported by MANY Democrats, like Hillary, Edwards, Kerry, etc).
    You bleed for ILLEGALs yet not for the AMERICAN rancher in Arizona who just happened to be killed by ILLEGALS!

    April 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. j

    Definitely a step into bigotry and racism. This is a step in the WRONG direction. Law makers need to look at this problem in an entirely different way.

    IMO, we're all citizens of the earth. Therefore, we all have the right to go any where on the planet that we choose. Find a way to treat them as if they were de facto citizens and collect taxes. What's so hard about that?

    April 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Yasmine

    this stinks... this nation was built on the backs of immigrants.. its ok when they clean your house and wash your ass when you are sick in the hospital ...but don't let them want a better a life for themselves..

    this bill is about racial profiling

    April 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Anthony Beasley

    I really wish people would actually read the Constitution before making statements. Simply put, Arizona is overstepping their boundaries in making this law. And on top of that, they are are making themselves their own nation in doing so. But I guess it's more about what people thinks that what the Document actually says. It's not what the facts are, it's what you determine you want the facts to be.

    April 23, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Cindy, PA

    Obama is looking at the illegal immigrants as votes for him. The teleprompter president and the entire Democratic Party are in trouble with the voters, the Democrats put us in this mess and there will be no second chance for Democratic Party in Congress.

    Let’s review,
    higher unemployment
    higher taxes
    higher home foreclosure rate
    auto industry in the tank
    tax evading Democratic Party
    tax evading Obama administration
    out of control budget
    health care reform disaster

    April 23, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Voice of Reason

    I look vaguely hispanic, and am a first-generation American. Does this mean that i would have to carry papers with me 24/7? Will the 'Arizona Gestapo' stop me in the streets and demand to see my papers? What if i go out jogging and not carrying 'proof of citizenship'? If the Arizona Posse decides i dont look White Enough – do i quickly find myself on the wrong side of the border?

    And what IS proof of citizenship in Arizona? Apparently NOT a short-form Certification of Live birth from the State of Hawaii? Do i have to carry an original copy of my birth certificate?

    Arizona legislature – you are a bunch of backwards bigoted badly-behaved boobs.

    April 23, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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