Obama criticizes proposed Arizona illegal immigrant law

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official website] on Thursday expressed opposition to a pending Arizona bill [SB 1070 materials] that would require any individual suspected of being an illegal immigrant to present valid identification to law enforcement officials. In remarks [text] delivered at a naturalization ceremony, Obama stated that failure to enact federal immigration reform has given rise to laws such as the one under consideration in Arizona:


Indeed, our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. And that includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.

Obama's stance on the Arizona law reflects his administration's policy [official website] that aims "to bring people out of the shadows." The remarks underscored Democratic opposition [press release] to the bill in Arizona. Proponents argue, however, that the law will discourage illegal immigration.

The Arizona Senate approved SB 1070 [JURIST report] earlier this month. Prior to the Senate approval, the Arizona House of Representatives also approved [JURIST report] the legislation. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official profile] must decide whether to sign the bill within five days after the Senate passage. On Thursday, Brewer announced a new Arizona border security plan [press release; AP report], and declared her support for a 10-point plan [press release] supported by US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) [official profiles]. In 2008, Arizona voters defeated a ballot measure [JURIST report] dealing with illegal immigrants. The initiative would have revoked the business licenses of employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Arizona is the most active border crossing point in the US.


 

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