April 30th, 2010
05:01 PM ET
13 years ago

3 border state governors critical of Arizona immigration law

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/30/art.perry.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said Friday he has concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona."]Washington (CNN) - All four governors of U.S. states that border Mexico have now weighed in on the controversial Arizona immigration law. The only one defending it is the governor who signed it into law, Arizona's Jan Brewer.

The latest state chief executive to criticize the Arizona measure is Republican Rick Perry of Texas.

"I fully recognize and support a state's right and obligation to protect its citizens, but I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas," Perry said in a statement issued Thursday.

"For example, some aspects of the law turn law enforcement officers into immigration officials by requiring them to determine immigration status during any lawful contact with a suspected alien, taking them away from their existing law enforcement duties, which are critical to keeping citizens safe," Perry added. "Our focus must continue to be on the criminal elements involved with conducting criminal acts against Texans and their property."

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 they are in the United States illegally. The measure also makes it a state crime to live in or travel through Arizona illegally. Though the law has garnered a lot of support in some quarters, it has ignited protests in Arizona and across the country.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, a fellow Republican, called the Arizona law "a mess" during a Thursday appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "As governor here, I would never do that in California. Pass a law like that – no way," he said.

Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, Wednesday told Joy Behar of HLN's The Joy Behar Show that he advised Brewer to veto the bill.

Regarding legal challenges to Arizona's law, Richardson said, "I wouldn't be surprised…if the federal government…pursues it because, on the grounds that this is a federal responsibility, that this isn't a state or local responsibility to empower police to basically detain anybody and possibly ask for their papers. And it's a good case of racial profiling."

"I believe any lawsuit questioning this law probably has some merit," Richardson said.

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Jan Brewer • Rick Perry
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Darth Vadik, CA

    Concerns like targeting a group of specific ethnicity? I guess old white bad habits die hard.

    April 30, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Dr. John Patrick

    There is now a world movement from various countries, as a result of reciprocity, mutual and equal principle from the new Arizona law, which in fact will be put in to law, where all AMERICANS when traveling abroad must carry their visas, passports and immigration documents with them at all times while visiting their country. Thus, any police officer in that foreign country, no matter whether he/she is legitimate, CORRUPT or UNTRAINED, will have the right to demand the American to present their documents. If in fact that police officer deems the American is in the country illegally, even if he or she is or is not illegal, that AMERICAN will be ARRESTED and spend time in a FOREIGN jail until the proper national immigration authorities can resolve the matter. Given that most countries are not as efficient as others, most AMERICANS that would be sent to the local jail may spend quite some time imprisoned, even if they are in the country legitimately. Furthermore, any corrupt police officer would be tempted and enticed to harass AMERICANS traveling abroad, as the officers and their co-workers would be looking for bribes. Also, please keep in mind the danger of theft or loss of your legal documents as they would need to be with you at ALL TIMES. Thus, this is a very stupid law.

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  3. Smith in Oregon

    Smelling mass boycotts on the way along with mass multi-class lawsuits, it seems that Arizona is slowly reacting to that inevitable series of blows to its State Coffers and have lowered their 'State Immigration' law to be 'supposedly' implemented if their Police officers 'see's' a crime in commission in conjunction with their 'person' of interest.

    Sounds like Arizona is scrambling to pretend their new racist Immigration law doesn't do anything besides what State laws already do in policing criminals in their own States.

    The problem is however this band-aid is just that, Police are certainly going with the Green-light to Jim Crow anyone with Brown Skin, anyone that speaks Spanish, anyone that looks to that 'police officer' to be a illegal immigrant is going to be harshly questioned, interrogated and demanded to show their citizenship papers.

    With Republican lawmakers now demanding to deport Hispanic infants back to Mexico that were born in America by parents of illegal immigrants, it appears their White Supremacist rhetoric is no different than telling a frenzy mob to take all African looking people back to Africa.

    April 30, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. KM

    While I do not agree with this state law I do understand their frustration. You can only wait for so long for someone else to solve your problem before you're fed up and have to act on it yourself. And it looks as though that is what Arizona did.

    April 30, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Thats because all the border governors are in the pockets of special interests that depend of illegal immigrants. Never again should we elect someone from a border state.

    April 30, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Ran

    I have concerns about all of your actions Gov. Perry.

    People demand no amnesty this time. Find and deport.

    No one has told me how you can determine someones citizenship without asking. So we ask.

    After the immigration activist on PBS news hour last night said "all we want is a level playing field between an undocumented (code for illegal) worker and a us citizen, the only action I will accept from my elected officials is round up and deport all illegals.


    April 30, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. American Citizen

    These governors better get on board with what their citizens want. Their citizens want the illegal alien wave to die down. We as taxpayers are tired of seeing our tax dollars go to the illegals while the our neighbors are put under the microscope to receive any help during their times of need. I've not against immigration in the right way. I understand that they are coming here for a better life, but don't expect the rest of Americans to foot the bill. Texas, California, and New Mexico governors may I suggest that you really see what your legal constituents want and stop trying to be so politically correct. It's time to act, because people are getting fed up and it will show in the voting.

    April 30, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Peace

    This woman Brewer really brewed it up. Why didn't she consult other border Governors first before jumping on dropping the ink on paper. Believe it or not, women thinking is different from mens! yet I am a woman mind you!

    April 30, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Voice of Reason

    The only reason she signed it was to cater to the right-right-right-wing Republican party in AZ. She is (true to form) looking at the next election instead of what's good for the people.

    She's no dummy – and knows perfectly well that it will get overturned by the first court that reviews it; but that wont be her fault, now will it? She can lay the blame for that at the feet of 'those radical left-wing legislating-from-the-bench liberal judges', and all the racist rednecks in Arizona will love her for it.

    April 30, 2010 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Show me your papers + Patriot Act + being detained without the right to a trial = Republican Fascist Police State

    The GOP keeps infringing on the rights of citizens in the name of "keeping us safe".

    April 30, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. key

    Again I didn't think the Arizona legislation was very smart from the Start

    April 30, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. clot

    They don't like it because it will force more illegal immigrants into their states. It's a good law and just enforces the federal government law.

    April 30, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    How do you tell when someone's an 'illegal' anyway? I have heard such ridiculous assertions as what kind of accent they have and how they are dressed.

    Just so someone can clear it up for me – How are 'real Americans' supposed to dress (I missed the dress-code memo), and which accents are acceptible and unacceptible?

    Kudos to the votors, legislators and governor of the once-great-state of Arizona, you have pulled up to neck-and-neck with South Carolina for 'Dumbest state of the Union'

    April 30, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. Todd M

    I figured Peryy would have recommended Arizona secede because the Feds were interfering in their laws.

    April 30, 2010 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Limbaugh is a Liberal

    Yes I'm also sure that if a policeman pulled you over and asked you to prove you were in the US legally you'd have no trouble showing your birth certificate and prove you were a US citizen. What's next? National IDs? What are we becoming? Socialist Europe where all citizens have to identify themselves to the government all the time lest they're thrown in prison for not having the proper papers?

    April 30, 2010 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Marc

    The lawsuits already started.
    And contrary to the lawsuits filled by (for example) the birthers, THERE IS LEGAL BASE FOR THEM.
    People are presumed innocent until proven guilty, not the opposite folks!

    April 30, 2010 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Peter E

    The struggle between states' rights and the federal governmet has already been decided! In 1865! Remember the Civil War? The one where the republican federal government has already enforced its absolute right to overrule all state legislation?
    Oh wait, republicans are for decentralized small government, as they have ALWAYS been... Except when they get elected. Then states' rights don't matter.
    No, I don't endorse slavery, and I do believe the federal government has the right to overrule unjust state legislation. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of all those republicans who are trying to lecture us about the Constitution and how it should protect states' rights! THEY were the ones who (at the time rightly so) subdued them!

    April 30, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Sounds like Hitler when his SS would say "show me your papers.

    April 30, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Who cares what Perry says, he's about as 2 faced as they come. Perry's the same person who cried out for Texas to leave the Union, he's unfit to be governor or hold any other political position, he's as irresponsible as Palin.

    April 30, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. jf

    Arizona is a pariah state with a loser Senator (McCain.)

    April 30, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. American Citizen

    This is in response to Dr. John Patrick:

    Dr. Patrick, if you have traveled at any time abroad, then I would think that you would know that you should have on you at all times your American passport. Keeping your documentation on you at all times in a foreign country is sometimes essential to your safety and just good old fashion common sense, since most countries are not as tolerant as America on this issue. This law is not saying, stay out of our state if you're a legal visitor, it's saying stay out of our state if you're an illegal visitor. Any nation can have corrupt officiers, it's part of the officiers being of the human race and making their own moral judgment calls.

    Maybe everyone would have been in favor of Governor Brewer signing into law that every citizen who owns land along the border can setup posts along their property lines and shoot any trepasser on their land without having to worry about legal reprocutions. But instead she signed a law that enables trained police officiers, who are suppose to have sound judgment, be able through lawful contact ask for credentials to prove they are there legally. I say kudos to the AZ governor for having the strength to sign a law like this and take a stand on behalf of the AZ citizens.

    April 30, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |

    When I was twelve or thirteen years old my family went to Disneyworld in Orlando,Fl. While there some jerk of an employee accused me of being Haitian and actually wanted to detain me as an illegal immigrant. This is a really bad law!

    April 30, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. hawk1

    Perry is only against it because he is up for re election. if he is elected again then he will be for it. hopefully we can vote perry out in november. Bill White for governer in Texas. we have had enough of republicans.

    April 30, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. Blake

    Texas and California are only doing this because they know once this passes in Arizona all the Illigals will be running to their states.
    And they do not want the either...
    Think about it, they are poloticians.

    April 30, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. martin

    We need to shrink the size of the government...as soon as they solve Arizona's problems...and California's problems...and Texas' problems...and how about that oil spill, let the Federal government solve that as well. Then we can get down to reducing the size of the government, because they just never do anything at all.

    April 30, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
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