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

Napolitano takes aim at Arizona immigration law

 Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told ABC News Monday Arizona’s new immigration law is ‘misguided.’

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. Dale

    It's not just racial profiling. It is requiring law abiding people to carry papers or be arrested. THIS IS AMERICA! Come on people! Requiring people to prove their innocene is just wrong. Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty in a court of law"?

    If a cop asked me to prove I was in the country legally, I would give him the bird. Seriously. Go ahead and arrest me and I will sue you into the stone age for false arrest. (BTW, I am a white, not black, not hispanic, 6th generation American.)

    April 26, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  2. A.B.

    This "misguided" law will be challanged and overturned in the federal courts due to its unconstitutionality. The state of Arizona has no authority to enforce immigration law whtich is the sole province of the federal government. Also, the Arizona immigration law would violate the civil rights of people of color regardless of their legal status in the United States–a violation of federal civil rights law. The federal government should enforce the immigration laws and the state of Arizona and other states should stay out of immigration matters entirely and attend to local law enforcement.

    April 26, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  3. n8whit

    Amnesty is not the answer. Stronger laws against employers is.

    April 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Hammerer

    Napolitano's job is to enforce laws not protect lawbreakers.
    If a person is in America illegally Napolitano"s job is to remove that person not to defend the lawbreakers.
    Cut of all social services (welfare, healthcare, housing and aid for education) and most will leave. The rest need to be deported.
    The claim that they are here to work is a lie. They want to get in line for the handouts.

    April 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. BC

    The term misguided keeps floating around in the mouthpieces of the administration. What part of facilitating law enforcement to enforce existing laws is misguided? I would ask madam secretary to go to southern Arizona and ask the besieged land owners and frustrated BP agents how they feel about this 'misguided' law.

    April 26, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. notfooledbydistractions

    For all those who insisted on calling President Obama a "facist" without ever having a clear comprehension of the term, you should now have a clear understanding of the definition. This is a pathetic attempt to resolve a serious issue. AZ legislators reacted with bravado, not brains. I hope they get the heck sued out of them. As an American citizen, I would consider having to produce my "papers" as a violation of my civil rights.

    Shame on AZ, but thanks for taking the honor of being this nations biggest embarrassment away from TX.

    April 26, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Chris C - Ohio

    Arizona is doing something about this issue while the federal gov't and the Obama Admin throw around soundbites. If a state taking action on a critical issue will get this admin to address the problem, then so be it. We have a vehicle in place that allows for legal immigration to our country (and no, it is not a 1972 Ford pick-up full of people executing a night crossing) – we need to stop the flood of illegals now. Come in legally or get out; how is that for an exit strategy?

    April 26, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Ann

    They found the big word.. 'misguided' ! Illegal means illegal Ms. Napolitano. And you are there to make illegality stop not to keep Mr. Obama's popularity. Arizona is doing the right thing.

    April 26, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Wert

    You're asking Napolitano if Arizona's immigration law is a good one? That's like asking Bull Connor if he liked the Civil Rights laws. If she had chosen to enforce Federal law herself, there wouldn't be a law in Arizona.

    April 26, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Obama the liar

    why is Napolitano against a bill that attempts to stop something ILLEGAL ? Oh wait , she is a liberal loon who wants to weaken National Security, the reason Obama hired her for her INCOMPETENCE and to gain future illegal votes. Sort of Chicago style.

    April 26, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. b. o. stinks

    the feds arent doing anything about illegals because they want their vote isnt that right barry boi? it is a good law and all states should have it

    April 26, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. Steve

    If Nepolitano and Obama don't like the new law perhaps it is time that they do their duty by cracking down down on illegal aliens and securing the borders. When ICE Agents, DHS, FBI, US Marshalls and border patrol identify and capture illegal aliens it is not a problem but suddently when local enfocement officers try to help it becomes "misguided" and racist? Obama and Nepolitano shold support Arizona and if they won't do that at leaste get the hell out of the way.

    April 26, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    The "former" Governor did NOTHING! While she was there, the border was overrun, yet she dd NOTHING! Now as Homeland Security Secretary, she still has done NOTHING! What this law is going to do is get her and the leadership in DC off their butts to do something! Brewer had the guts to do something that Napolitano did not have. In addition, she could not secure the border in one state. Why do we believe she can for a nation? Brewer has a plan, Napoltano still does not. "Napolitano said the law is evidence a comprehensive federal immigration plan is needed." Did she not know that as Governor?

    April 26, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. AnProf

    IF the federal government would do its job and SECURE our borders then states would not be compelled to try to police the flow of illegal immigrants into their jurisdictions. States such as Arizona are overwhelmed by this influx, and the feds (and Homeland Security) need to enforce the laws and stop with the weak rationalizing of their blind eye approach.
    And don't try to shove immigration reform on the U.S. until you secure our borders! Was that message not clear 2 years ago?

    April 26, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Big George in Big D

    The law is sorely needed – NOT misguided! 460,000 illegals are in the State of Arizona, probably more. We cannot be expected to keep on supporting these illegal, law breaking people!! Now they are killing/kidnapping US citizens – and Nobama and his crew expect the people of Arizona to just keep on taking it? If the US gov't is so afraid of losing votes to tackle immigration issues, then the individual states must do something to protect their own law abiding citizens.

    April 26, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Robert Warner

    The GOP, who sell themselves as getting government out of people's lives, now want to have the police demand that americans "Show us your papers". If hispanics have any illusions about the GOP being on their side, they better make sure that they always have their birth certificate with them.

    April 26, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. cony007

    This bill is wrong because to ask the police to do this is asking them to profile and profiling is illegal in the US. We now that there are many white Europeans, canucks, Aussies, and NZealanders who are here in the country illegally and if the police was given the orders to check on them that to would be profiling because you don't know who has illegal or not by just looking at them. Ilegal immigration is a major problem but this is a racist law.

    April 26, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Steve in North Carolina

    Maybe if she and the rest of the Feds did their job and enforced the law, Arizona wouldn't have needed to take action!

    April 26, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Chris

    No surprise there, Democrats are famously weak on fighting crime. Scred of their own shadow is more like it

    April 26, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |

    BigSis and Messiah are aiders and abetters of criminal behavior. Yet again, they are blatantly going against the clear will of the people, and trying to pit one group against another. Disgusting.

    Meanwhile, Obama plays a few more rounds of golf...

    April 26, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Nellie Bly

    Arizona was part of Mexico until 1853. People of Mexican descent are the indigenous people there. This includes my hubby's family who have roots in Tombstone. They didn't have to "go North." Republicans shouldn't be so shocked to see Hispanics on the streets, in stores and shock! - as neighbors. To the non-Hispanic looking residents of AZ, don't think you aren't affected by this bill. If you are pulled over by a cop on your way to a D-Backs game and your friend Jose doesn't have proof of his citizenship, your car is going to be impounded for transporting an illegal alien. Yes, the majority of illegal immigrants come from Spanish speaking countries but speaking Spanish doesn't mean you're an immigant. After all, Spanish was spoken in Arizona, California, Texas and NEW MEXICO long before English ever was.

    April 26, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Bob in PA

    No Lady, it just says that you need to "Do Your Job" and enforce our existing laws.

    April 26, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Sgt. USMC

    This law is so stupid and won't win before the supreme court. Unfortunately, we will have plenty of cases of racial profiling before the law is changed.

    Just to put things into perspective for all who support this law: imagine one day there is a law that makes it a felony to be a racist. How else would you enforce that law but to judge someone based on their appearance and stereotypes. That means that if you are an older white republican man, you are automatically a suspect because society says you are. It's not blind justice.

    This law is based on stereotypes and prejudice. It's not about getting rid of illegal immigration, it's about politics and biased policy from the people who run AZ.

    April 26, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. tamade

    Another example from the Federal Government – All talk and no action.

    April 26, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. johnnyhouse

    If the Federal government had been doing its job we would not be in this mess or even discussing it. I would bet that there was not one border crasher in North Korea, China or Iran in the last 24 hours. If there had been they would be in jail and in the front page news today.This country can not survive by taking on all the monetary responsibilities and moral problems of every country of the world. We are becoming that which we want to think we are not.

    April 26, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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