April 27th, 2010
07:45 PM ET
12 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. Ron

    We need to go after the people that provide the work.. Not go all gestapo on everyone thats not white. Where are all theTea Baggers yelling about our freedoms. If it were a case of law then why can't cops search everyones house anytime they want to see if anything illegal was going on?

    April 27, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Gil

    Poorly conceived isn't strong enough! it is down right Unconstitutional!

    April 27, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. SLimbone

    They acted stoopidly.

    April 27, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. gcole

    Hopefully a fed up police officer of hisanic decent will stop a vacationing family to make sure they are not illegal Canadian immigrant. I have enjoyed vacationing in Arizona in the past, but I will not go someplace that makes citizens show thier papers. That my friends in fascism, Nazi style.

    April 27, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Mike in NYC

    He lies. Lies, lies, lies.

    It's not 11 or 12 million, but at least twice that.

    As for profiling - reality itself seems to be a profiler, since the vast majority of illegal immigrants are Hispanic. If you're a US-born Hispanic, and you get pulled over in AZ, blame your "undocumented" co-ethnics for the inconvenience.

    As for my next vacation, Arizona here I come. Beautiful state, I hear.

    April 27, 2010 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. capt snarky

    Hmmm. So the State of AZ enacts a law that does what the Federal Government refuses to do (control immigration), and then the President has the GALL to criticize them??????

    None of this would have come about if the President and Ms. Napalitano were doing their job of PROTECTING OUR BORDER! But their "Progressive" Open Border policy is counter to that isn't it???????

    It's not about racism, it's about OPEN BORDERS and AMNESTY. At least the President could quit lying about it and admit his policy and let the people decide which direction they want the U.S. to go......

    Wake up, people. Before we wind up the United States of Mexico.........

    April 27, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Michael

    The QUIT pandering to ILLEGALS , the feds have not done any thing about this – tell the sanctuary cities ZERO federal aid if you DO NOT enforce the law

    April 27, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Emerson

    Look. Every time I go to the airport, they search and scan the old white ladies...the businessmen...the nuns...and the Muslims. If you are out with your kids and don't have your Arizona drivers license or other ID...then you deserve to be harassed. I say require every American to prove they are an American. And SEND EVERYONE ELSE BACK TO THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

    April 27, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Roger

    Obama shloud be an expert on "Poorly Concieved" since his whole administration ahs shown to the just that! Ths President needs to stop his constant "showboating" parade and govern! He has become a farce and is just showing everyone that he's all smoke and mirrors, an empty suit without his teleprompters.

    April 27, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    The only thing "Poorly Conceived" is barack obama. Anyone with a brain would have aborted that thing.

    April 27, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  11. Roger

    Obama should be an expert on "Poorly Concieved" since his whole administration has shown to the just that! Ths President needs to stop his constant "showboating" parade and govern! He has become a farce and is just showing everyone that he's all smoke and mirrors, an empty suit without his teleprompters.

    April 27, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. g ontario

    just another republican state gone nuts

    April 27, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Pragmatic

    The AZ law, as written, is not the solution.

    How many employers of undocumented workers have been fined & closed down? Cut the demand and you cut the supply.

    My Great Grandmother is from Boliva: she plays loud salsa music and has been a naturalized citizen, an American, for over 40 years. Now, in AZ, she could be pulled over and asked to present "proof" of citizenship. This is not how America treats its citizens!

    April 27, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. Aaron

    I'm sorry but if you are here illegally you are a criminal, period. No argument, no debate.

    I am expected to follow all the laws of this country or I'll will be punished for breaking them. with fines, jail, or both.

    Is is not reasonable for me to expect the same for everyone else including illegals?

    April 27, 2010 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. Washington has failed us

    Given the failure of successive administrations – republican and demoncrat – to tackle and resolve the illegal immigration crisis, the Arizona law should surprise few. Also, it is important for moderates and clear thinkers to not be swayed by the hyperbole. Irresponsible and inflammtory rhetoric (not to mention the outrageous claims of the Mexican government, a government that cannot secure its own streets, never mind the national borders) will help noone, nor will reactionary threats. The underlying issue remains: Arizona continues to be flooded by illegals. The budgetary impact of this is immense, as is the growing social crisis. Sadly, many of those limelight seekers (Sharpton et. al) don't even live in Arizona. The citizens of Arizona are entitled to see the federal government enforce its constitutional rights (rather than avoid a hot political issue). Without enforcement of the law, our society will die a slow death. Equal justice over social justice!!

    April 27, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. earline lund

    fine the employers that hire illegals and the flood to come illegally into America will close up. And these jobs could go to US citizens. Many say, they are too low paying for US workers. They are only that low because the employers knows they can get away with it with illegals..Fine them and it stops.

    April 27, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  17. Right Leaning Independent

    Obama does not live in Arizona and has no idea what they are dealing with! He is another Washington politician that thinks he is so much smarter than the State politicians that are looking out for their constituents! An overwhelming majority of Arizona residents support this bill so get over it!

    April 27, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  18. Ruty

    One of the few times I agree with McCain is on immigration reform. I have lived in foreign countries and I had to carry with me at all times my passport and visa just in case I asked for them. What is wrong with the U.S. doing that? If you have nothing to hide why won't you allow an official to see your papers? Sounds like some people have something to hide!!!!

    April 27, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. ib

    This is one of the best things a state has done. They are looking out for their people not the ones coming across the border. I hope if this law is taken to court; the state wins. Obama is the one poorly conceived.

    April 27, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    The entire Obama presidency was "poorly conceived," so I guess he knows something about poor conceptions.

    April 27, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. J Byrd

    Well I'm glad Obama finally said something to the illegals. "make them take responsibility for breaking the law." Thank you very much. I'm all for this law. It's about time!

    April 27, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. Brian in California

    I think someone at CNN should look into the statistics to find out WHO is committing all these crimes that Arizonans are attributing to all illegal aliens. I find it very hard to believe that those instances that have made Phoenix the kidnapping capitol of the country are being committed by undocumented workers, those who are their to work. I think an analysis will find that much of this related to the drug trade and cartel members.

    I think a distinction needs to made between these two groups of people, those who are there to WORK and those who are there taking part in drug trafficking associated activities/crimes. This would help focus law enforcement activity and address the REAL problem.

    Anyone there at CNN listening? I think this would be a very worthy analysis.

    April 27, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. Marie MD

    I agree that illegal means illegal and they should not be allowed to be in the US, but let's make sure it's not just Mexicans or people from South America, but folks from Russia and Canada and other "white" people who are also here illegally but they don't look "the part to be racially profiled".
    That being said do you really want to travel to a state, or anywhere for that matter, within the US carrying your passport?
    I use my passport for foreign travel. My family and I will stay out of any state where you have to prove you are a citizen of this country.
    Does voter's registration work? How silly.

    April 27, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  24. File under "Sarcasm"

    I think this stands along side Obama saying that "the Cambridge police acted stupidly". He should stay out of matters where he hasn't investigated the facts and only wants to be politically correct.

    April 27, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  25. Fitz in Texas

    Four times in the last year and a half the Gov. of Arizona wrote to the President asking for help with the illegal immigration problem in Arizona resulting in high numbers of rapes, murders, car highjackings, drugs and the list goes on. All four time the President ignored the Gov. because with Obama it's all about votes and not the safety of this county and her citizens.

    Thank GOD for strong woman like the Gov. of Arizona that stands up and does what needs to be done in her state to keep the people of Arizona safe.

    April 27, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
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