April 26th, 2010
01:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Napolitano takes aim at Arizona immigration law

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/26/art.napolitano.0415.gi.jpg caption=" Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told ABC News Monday Arizona’s new immigration law is ‘misguided.’"](CNN) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is taking aim at the new controversial law passed in her home state of Arizona dealing with illegal immigration, telling ABC News it is "not a good law in any number of reasons."

"That one is a misguided law. It's not a good law, good enforcement law," said Napolitano, who served as governor of Arizona before being joining President Obama's administration last year. "But beyond that, what it illustrates is that other states now will feel compelled to do things."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill Friday that requires police in her state to determine whether a person is in the U.S. legally – a measure critics say will foster racial profiling. But supporters argue the law will help crack down on illegal immigration. The law requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there is reason to suspect that they're in the country illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.

In her interview with ABC broadcast Monday, Napolitano said the law is evidence a comprehensive federal immigration plan is needed.

"You will have this patchwork of laws where we need a federal immigration system that meets our security needs, that recognizes where we need to go in this 21st century and gives us a better framework on which to stand," she said.

After appearing to be put on the back burner, the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have now indicated passage of immigration reform legislation is a top priority before the close of the 111th Congress.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Janet Napolitano • Popular Posts
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. DaveInAZ

    Well, since Janet did nothing to stop or even slow down illegal imigration during her tenure, she takes some of the blame. We are on the front lines, and are tired of the constant inaction from DC. Since the feds won't act, AZ is forced to. The law may never go anywhere (may be tied up in courts for years) but at least it got someone's attention. Get a clue DC, you folks are worthless up there.

    April 26, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Dan Shafer

    For years we have needed reform in regards to illegal aliens to no avail. Neither the right or left have come up with a workable solution. It is about time some state stood up and actually made breaking the law illegal. If you read the legislation, it does not condone pulling anyone and everyone over and asking for citizenship papers. It mearly states that the police have a right to ask for proof you are a citizen if you are stopped for a violation. It reminds me of a Ron White joke, " I was pulled over for drunk driving and tried to get off by claiming the cops profiled me. As it turned out, they were pulling everyone over for driving on that particular SIDEWALK"

    April 26, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Claire

    Good for Arizona! It's about time.

    April 26, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. jdmintexas

    Washington has no idea of the outrage brewing not only in Arizona but California, New Mexico, and Texas as well. If federal immigration reform is not passed asap, you are going to have vigilante justice erupting everywhere in the Southwest. I am not a fan of the Arizona law but I sympathize with their plight. The only path to effective immigration reform is through a comprehensive federal law and the main focus has to be in eliminating the incentives for immigrants to come here outside of proper channel. Stop employers from hiring undocumented workers. Eliminate funding to "sanctuary cities." Stop public schools, including colleges and universities, from educating the children of illegal immigrants. Require proof of citizenship at emergency rooms and hospitals–treat those with life threatening illnesses but then send them on their way. Define citizenship to exclude so called "anchor babies." Require proof of citizenship for any type of federal aide. Provide for a guest worker program but only issue visas for the program in foreign countries. The border fence is a silly idea but use technology and the national guard to secure the border.

    April 26, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Peter

    Why is it that so many people, including the government officials we have elected to run this country and protect it from peril, are always so adamantly opposed to any headway in correcting a problem that plagues this country. If you go to any other country in the world, you need IDENTIFICATION to enter there country. Plain and simple.
    We used to require that also. Under whose watch did all this change?
    This is a problem that will not correct it self.
    We are hemorrhaging jobs all over the country. Everyday Corporate America is laying off our workers and sending them overseas.
    First it was manufacturing, now it is the white collar and tech jobs. Pretty soon we will be known as: THE UNITED STATES OF THE UNEMPLOYED .
    Yet, everyday tens of thousands if illegal immigrants are working here for CASH, living in dangerous overcrowded conditions, getting FREE healthcare, and now the government also wants to give them SOCIAL SECURITY without ever paying into it.
    Yes, I understand that they do a lot of the jobs most people would not do. However, these people will soon realize that these jobs need to be done and if they are not working, have no unemployment or other income, these jobs will be a welcomed means of survival. Maybe that is what it will take for everyone to wake up.

    April 26, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. J'approve!

    Evidently her views have been cleared through the White House.

    April 26, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. yurek

    im an immigrant my self and i have 4 million dolar invested just this year in united states these kind of laws makes me want to pull my money out of united states bc it makes me worry about my family this country is a beutiful counrty we defenetly need a immigration reform go mr OBAMA you can do this.i think economy will function much better if immigration reform gets done more cars more insurance more house s will get sold i think alot s of people will agree with me .

    April 26, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    This lady had her chance to fix the problem and did nothing just like the federal government did nothing the nothing time is over lady .

    April 26, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. rob

    agree with governor from arizona, then why dont the govt get off there butts and do something instead the states to do it themselves no wonde why we dont like our govt at no work but complain about states trying tp do something, her being from arizona and a do nothing govt, horray for the governor, and i do believe activists against just want us to take care of them without a card showing who they are, i do rob in florida

    April 26, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. StJakk

    We HAVE laws presently on the books.....our immigration system isn't broken..rather,it's being IGNORED by folks like former Gov. Napolitano and our socialist Presidente' Obama.

    April 26, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Jon In Madison

    Last I checked, we already had immigration laws on the federal books. It just looks like nobody wants to enforce them. WIth that being said, AZ has the right to enforce the laws themselves. At lease they chose an actual law instead of just allowing the citizenry to handle it themselves. Trust me, as a former AZ resident, there are plenty who would rather just meet them at the border with guns.

    Good job AZ. People need to start remembering that states have sovereignty.

    April 26, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. joe


    "Lawful contact" and "reasonable suspicion." It doesn't mandate the police go looking for illegals, just if they come across a person in the course of their duties that may be illegal, they can ask, "when practical." The MSM is over sensationalizing yet again.

    April 26, 2010 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Richard

    Maybe the Hispanic, and and African American police can start asking caucasian folks for their papers. Not all illegal immigrants are from Mexico. SOme come from Canada, and others come from Europe. As soon as enough people are inconvienenced by this law, they will realize how silly it is to have police responsible for making sure that everyone is a legal citizen

    April 26, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. george cook

    THEN why don't YOU get off of your but ...You and the rest of the Administration and GET SOMETHING DONE about the ILLEGAL Immigrants that have been FLOODING this Country for years now. There is a RIGHT way to become a US Citizen...and it is CLEARLY SPELLED OUT in our Laws and the Consitution....WHY dont you try and enforce same....vs.....trying to SWAY VOTES for the next Election...QUIT PLAYING POLITICS....on this Dangerous Issue that clearly has MOST "Law Abiding USA Citizens" Up in ARMS.........ie get it done and TAKE THE POLITICS .....OUT OF IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One of these days you may WAKE UP and find out JUST HOW SERIOUS this Problem REALLY IS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 26, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. tom

    Who asked her opinion? If she had done her job as governor, then Arizona wouldn't be having a immigrant problem. Let me see if I get this straight, she is head of Homeland Security and she doesn't think illegal immigration is a problem? I guess its more important to frisk grandma at the airport than protect our borders. Thanks Big Sis!

    April 26, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  16. Ridgeway

    Another empty suit in the Obama administration. What Arizona should have done is check voter registration cards for illegals voting. If the Arizona law had said produce a voter card instead of a green cardthe Dems would be OK with that. Dems could care less about legal or illegal just get the vote. Obama should know. Half of his supporters in Illinois had no documents but their death certificate.

    April 26, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Julia- Idaho Native American

    Okay, so let's profile fat, bald-headed white guys, it makes about as much sense as this racial profiling. Guess what McCain, you'll be the first one stopped.

    April 26, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Steve in CT

    It seems what was done in the '90s to send out jobs to Mexico didn't work to keep our immigration levels controllable. We should start by bringing those jobs back. Secondly, if the legal immigrants truly have an issue with the citizens of the US trying to protect our kid's futures they can either help get the illegals out of the equasion or go back themselves. We can't afford to keep allowing this to happen. It's like the lifeguard being drowned by the swimmer he/she is trying to save. Then they're both dead. We also need to look at the Chinese import station in Long Beach we don't have rights to monitor. That's another huge leak.

    April 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Let me see if I understand the Executive Office's position correctly: It is criminal for states to enforce the federal law that Congress has on the books, but has failed for decades to enforce. If I remember correctly, we used to be a nation of law. Now we are a nation of "fairness" which is in the eye of the beholder, and subject to wild enterpritation. How sad that such a once great nation on the world stage has been reduced to this pathetic state.

    April 26, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. get real

    Why not just make all legal immigrants were a star on their clothing???

    April 26, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. JCinSC

    The law would make more sense and have less controversy if they simply modified it to force immigration law enforcement upon a police officers investigation of another crime or complaint. The negative fire with this is all based off the racial profiling concern. If the police can’t stop and question a person just because of racial background then there is no argument. Everyone should be able to agree that a person must carry identification and documents showing that they are here legally. That’s a no brainer.

    April 26, 2010 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. John D

    Janet, just shut up and sit in the corner. I am proud of Arizona and their new law. This has been brewing for quite awhile and the MAJORITY wants nothing to do with illegals but send them packing.
    Get it done. They are costing us a fortune we do not have! I know all you illegals who post here on CNN are listening.

    April 26, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    If she would do her job They would not need to pass this law.

    April 26, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Dems become the party of NO

    Janet should take her complaints to her boss, president Oblamo, the leader of the real party of no (as in no action and no courage) Obama and the Dems control every part of the federal government with healthy majorities in the House and Senate and have done ZERO to dreal with Immigration reform. Obama Reid and Pelosi will do nothing to fix this problem if it angers latinos and costs them support form their Latino base.... and that left Arizona to fend for itself. We need courage and leadership in DC - and we ain't getting either from the Demos or Obama

    Arizona's legislation is not perfect, butit addresses a problem the state had to fix to project jobs, property, and the very lives of Arizona citizens

    Shame on Janet and Obama for doing nothing and then criticizing a state for protecting its own borders becasue the Federal government and Obama are afraid to act

    April 26, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. Steve in Kent, WA.

    Wake up folks....this administration is "hell bent" on continuing to erode power from state and local governments. Janet, just because you have failed miserably at protecting our borders, don't blame the state of Arizona for trying to protect its legal citizens. Congrats Arizona, you put the safety of your legal citizens ahead of political pandering. Forget the Hispanic vote, do what's right and enforce the immigration laws that the Feds, for political reasons, choose to ignore.

    April 26, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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