[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.