April 23rd, 2010
11:13 AM ET
5 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. Dave

    Well, that's his administration in a word.

    April 23, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Annie, Atlanta

    Misguided is an understatement. Carte blanche racial profiling is the name of this game, and it's a dangerous step in the wrong direction.

    I don't know answer to Arizona's real or perceived illegal immigrant problem, but giving police the right to stop anyone based on the way they look, for any reason, and demanding papers they may or may not have on their person, scares the living hell out of me.

    I thought Republicans were for smaller, not expanded, government.

    April 23, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. felicia

    Now arizona has a problem, they simply want to get the illegals out because the whites are mad they voted democrat instead of repig.

    April 23, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Terri T in Tenn

    I'm a dark skinned caucasion. I have dark hair. I have been mistaken for Latino and Jewish before, especially in the summer when I get a great tan. What happens when people like me start getting harrassed by the Arizona cops on a regular basis? What is my recourse? Oh, right, none. I think I'll vacation with my family and spend lots and lots of cash in another human friendly state. I'll never visit or spend my money in Arizona – ever and I suggest others avoid it too. Like the plague. Attention Human Beings: Avoid Arizona – Do Not Support Bigotry in any form!!!

    April 23, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    "undermine basic notions of fairness that we as Americans cherish"
    This statement is a conundrum. We are here because our ancestors or recent immigrants did so with 'fairess' in mind by doing it legally. An illegal immigrant enters and is immediately guilty of a Felony and continues to defraud honest Americans each day they stay here and take jobs that belong to us and then conitinue the ruse by sending our money back to Mexico or whatever country they came from.
    The government continues to make this a political issue, always thinking of the 'votes' and not of the 'fairness' associated with the 'wrongs' being committed.
    Hats off to Arizona for deciding that enough is enough.

    April 23, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. LIP

    "undermine basic notions of fairness that we as Americans cherish"
    This statement is a conundrum. We are here because our ancestors or recent immigrants did so with 'fairess' in mind by doing it legally. An illegal immigrant enters and is immediately guilty of a Felony and continues to defraud honest Americans each day they stay here and take jobs that belong to us and then conitinue the ruse by sending our money back to Mexico or whatever country they came from.
    The government continues to make this a political issue, always thinking of the 'votes' and not of the 'fairness' associated with the 'wrongs' being committed.
    Hats off to Arizona for deciding that enough is enough.

    April 23, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Jeff Posdamer

    Just to keep things in focus, any US citizen of hispanic heritage (or who a local cop thinks looks hispanic) must carry "papers" in Arizona or risk being arrested.

    In every movie about the Nazis, the bad guys always ended up saying (in a threatening way) "Show me your papers". Anyone with good suntan had best avoid Arizona if they don't want to carry "papers".

    April 23, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    and this comes from a community organizer who for the last year and a half that has misguided our Nation...lol

    April 23, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Arizona should be renamed West Carolina. Have a nice day!

    April 23, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Sickening

    Can you say "racial profiling" ? This is pathetic. It's like the Nazis rounding up the Jews.

    April 23, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Voice of Reason

    Doesnt this requirement of carrying documentation of citizenship violate our rights of 'Innocent until proven guilty'? It's more a case of 'Guilty by suspician unless you can prove you are innocent'.

    It'll never hold up under scrutiny. The Supreme Court will strike this law down as unconstitutional within a year.

    April 23, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. jarhead

    Amazing... 1st it's stay out of my states rights. Then it's the feds. responsibility to send more natl. guard and border patrol (federal ). All of us know the immigration issue needs to be addressed, but if this is the real bill, it's nothing short of a mess. Had John Mccain been on the job for AZ. maybe the issue could have been tackled sooner and more intelligently. I got news for arizona, if your police don't like it, it's really bad. I agree illegal is illegal. I would bet the police and border patrol think they are deporting at a reasonable rate with actual law breakers. reeking of racism is this bill.

    April 23, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Obama the liar

    and this comes from a community organizer who for the last year and a half that has misguided our Nation...lol

    April 23, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Mark

    Problem is that President Obama believes everyone else is wrong and he is right if it doesn't fit within his scheme to move the Country to the left. This constant talking down to the people just irritates voters more. There are much, much more smart people outside of Washington and within it.

    April 23, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. j russ

    .......so the president doesn't think that the federal laws against illegal immigration should be inforced?

    April 23, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. katiec

    We have all witnessed profiling when it comes to so called traffic stops etc. This is giving law enforcement a free rein and there will be abuses, as there already are, only now with no accountability.
    Granted, immigration is a problem, but there are more American ways to handle it.
    Keep in mind that AZ, with McCains guidance, refused for a period of time to recognize Martin Luther King day. With this mentallity can anyone believe there will be fairness?

    April 23, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    Who cares what Obama calls it the people are mad as hell of being a cash cow to people that are sucking our country dry the sooner this new law starts the better .

    April 23, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Beth

    Lets not talk about legal or illegal. These are people and should be treated humanely. They just want to live the American dream. They are cleaning your houses, cutting your lawns and installing your pipes. Also, please keep in mind that George Bush spent a good deal of his Presidency trying to pass illegal immigration legislation. His own party denied him on that. So don't blame Obama and the Democrats for this one!!!

    April 23, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. AME

    So, in essence, the Arizona bill is advocating racial profiling.

    April 23, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Fair is Fair

    "Arizona should be renamed West Carolina. Have a nice day!"

    It was funny the first time it was said... 500 times later, it's lost it's luster.

    April 23, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. deepthinker

    Do we see anything wrong with a quote from the article. "The bill would make it a state crime to be in the U.S. illegally..". Hmm, turns out I don't see anything wrong at all. You mean the state is actually going to enforce the law saying you can't be in this country illegally. Wow! Thanks Arizona for trying to do something the Federal government obviously isn't capable of handling on it's own! Now, before someone says I'm anti-immigrant, let me clarify I'm all for LEGAL immigration. Speaking of which can we stop using the term "undocumented" to try and obfuscate the word illegal!!!

    April 23, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. David

    Is the "weak-kneed" in-chief upset that the State of Arizona is doing what the federal government should be doing? My goodness, someone actually enforcing the laws of the land? How could this happen?

    April 23, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. Obama Enemy List Wannabe

    So, now its wrong to chase criminals? Mark this up to how ideology is 'coloring' whether something is a crime or not. Like the screwedup concept of 'Hate Speech'... Obama is intent on evading the Constitution and looking to declare that law is what he wants it to be. I like the statement, "Ilegal is a crime, not a race....."

    April 23, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. John independent from NY

    I think the Arizona bill is a good one. the only thing that would be better would be to round up the little rats and dump them off shore somewhere. They may apply properly at a later date. Obama is misguided.

    April 23, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. the dude

    it will never hold up in court....the Supreme Court that is...it is profiling, plain and simple. Looks like the Republicans in Arizona really do like Big Government with a bill like this....

    April 23, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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