April 27th, 2010
07:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Arizona law 'poorly conceived,' says Obama

Ottumwa, Iowa (CNN) – President Obama spoke more extensively on the Arizona immigration bill on Tuesday, taking a question during a rally at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa Iowa.

"I have a lot of undocumented friends," said Julie Morales, a student at the community college. "Immigration has been in the news for many, many years, and nothing has been done about it, and I was just wondering what your plan was for our undocumented workers who have established our country?"

Obama criticized the recently passed Arizona immigration bill, calling it "poorly conceived."

"You can imagine if you are an Hispanic American in Arizona, your great grandparents may have been there before Arizona was even a state, but now suddenly if you don't have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're gonna be harassed," Obama said. "That's something that could potentially happen. That's not the right way to go."

Obama made clear that illegal immigrants bear responsibility too. "We area nation of immigrants," he said, "but we are also a nation of laws."
"The truth is that 11 or 12 million folks, we're gonna have to make them take responsibility for what they did," Obama said. "And the way to do that is to make them register, make them pay a fine, make them learn English, make them take responsibility for the fact that they broke the law."

Despite not being a border state, Iowa has an issue with illegal immigrants, many of whom work in the state's farm and meat packing industries. A 2008 raid of a meat packing plant in Postville, Iowa, resulted in the arrests by immigration officials of several hundred undocumented workers.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • President Obama
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Denna

    This ham-handed, ridiculous law needs to be repealed and now. We are heading toward the same dark days that were Nazi Germany in the last century. I can hardly believe that the same people who call President Obama a socialist would pull a stunt like this. Personally, I would prefer a socialist society to another Nazi one. God help us all!

    April 27, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. File under "Sarcasm"

    Don't you just love that politically correct language where it's "undocumented workers" instead of "illegal immigrants" or "man caused disasters" instead of "terrorist attacks". I wonder if Ms Morales had access to the same speech writer as Ms. Napolitano?

    April 27, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I can understand the concern over the immigration status that people have. I would hope that we can check all those that are here illegally and get them to permanent resident status quickly; background checks would be nice so we don't have violent offenders here. I don't like people getting citizenship when they came here illegally. Who says we need to give them citzenship?

    April 27, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  4. Ben

    Maybe someone should tell President Obama the federal laws in place right now are actually more than sufficient if they would just enforce them. While I don't totally agree with the Arizona law becuase of your right to serach and seisure should not be taken from you. Asking for documents to always be kept on your person does nothing but open doors to violating rights. What does he expect the state of Arizona to do or any state for that matter when there almost virtualy no punishment for an illegal immigrant to come here. Boot the illegals out and watch the unemployment rate plummet to almost zero. No U.S. citizen should wonder how their going to feed their kids next week because an illegal immigrant took their job. There is a lot of that going on here in Washington state.

    April 27, 2010 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Kari

    Something must be done about illegal immigration but this is not it. Asking people, legal citizens or illegal aliens, to produce ID is a very slippery slope. Imagine...you are an American citizen and you are required to "show your papers." If you don't have the proper ID handy, you are going to have a very bad day.

    April 27, 2010 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. dennis

    Right on, Obama! You've taken over General Motors, Chrysler, and the Nations Financial Sector. Taking over the State Government of Arizona shouldn't be much of a step! Kick'em where it hurts!

    April 27, 2010 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. Frank in valparaiso indiana

    Actually Obama blew it. You had great grand parents there before it became a state, they were grandfathered in when it became a state. Whoever lived there was a citizen. Then US law kicked in.

    April 27, 2010 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  8. gary

    This is too important to play politics with. Inaction will have tragic results for some American due to Arizona's law.

    April 27, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  9. Hammerer

    Obama says we are a nation of immigrants and also a nation of laws.
    We are a nation of LEGAL immigrants that enter America as required by law. To say we are a nation of laws is a streach. He says that the lawbreakers should be given a free ride into citizenship because
    they chgose to break our laws and receive citizenship before the immigrants that are waiting their turn according to law.
    I guess he would call that "fair" like some of the other things he calls fair.
    His idea of fair is not most peoples idea.

    April 27, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. raingirl2

    I don't know what this Morales is talking about no illegals built this country you can tell president "O" that if he is stupid enough to pass any kind of amnesty he for sure will be out of office and certainly a one term president so tell him . Ms. Morales should be talking to President Calderon to figure out a way to fix the mess in Mexico and stop trying to bull shi* the American people with your stupid unfounded rhetoric it's not working. This is America not Mexico if it were Mexico we wouldn't be having this conversation we would be missing in action never to be seen again. go figure there will be an end to this free gravy train that is the only reason the pro-amnesty people are screaming.I bet she is getting a free ride on my tax dollars

    April 27, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  11. munchmom

    Unlike most of the laws/plans/takeovers your administration has planned for us to suffer through?????

    April 27, 2010 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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