Barack Obama - Arizona Immigration Law
In April of 2010 the state of Arizona passed a law which took US immigration law and made it enforceable by state officials by making already existing US laws, state law. Supporters of the law saw it as simply enforcing laws that the US federal government were choosing not to enforce.
President Obama opposed the law and stated that the bill was misguided and that he opposed it for the following reasons:
- it would lead to racial profiling
- it would lead to a patchwork of immigration laws around the country
- it was the job of federal law enforcement to deal with immigration laws
The law became controversial for President Obama for a number of reasons. Some of the controversy was the result of his actions, some was the results of administration officials, and some was the result of some very obviously flawed logic.
- President Obama claimed that children and parents going out for ice cream would be harassed, and that the law would lead to racial profiling. Racial profiling was specifically outlawed by the legislation.
- President Obama's administration filed suit against the state of Arizona, claiming that the state of Arizona had no right to enforce immigration law. This is in direct contradiction to the administration's inaction against numerous sanctuary cities across the country that aid people violating the law. The President has not addressed those areas, and has chosen to file suit against a state seeking to enforce valid US laws.
- President Calderon of Mexico spoke to Congress and received applause when he dictated immigration policy. Although this was the result of congressional Democrats, much ire was directed at the President.
- During the national discussion on the issue, several high ranking officials in the administration stated their opposition to the bill just moments before stating that they had made no attempts to read the bill
- Throughout the debate, the President kept insisting that the solution to the problem was to simply grant citizenship to people here illegally through a "Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill".
The Arizona Law
On April 23, 2010 Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1070 into law for the state of Arizona. The law can be read here, and makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents, bars state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens.
Arizona Law Misguided
On the day it was signed, Pesident Obama slammed the law and stated that it was a misguided attempt. He stated that the law was the result of a lack of action on the federal level, but did not state what action should be taken.
Indeed our failure to act responsibly at the federal level, will only open the door to irresponsibility of others. That includes, for example, recent efforts in Arizona which threaton the undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans. As well as trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe. In fact, I've instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation.
If we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country.
Harassed Buying Ice Cream
On April 27, 2010 President Obama spoke at a rally and commented on the Arizona immigration bill. He stated that if you look hispanic, you could be harassed for buying ice cream.
If you are a 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. That's something that could potentially happen.
President Calderon Address
On May 20, 2010 President Felipe Calderon of Mexico spoke to the Congress about immigration. He stated that the Arizona law used racial profiling, and the US must find a better way to deal with the issue.
On the Boycott and Amnesty
On May 27, 2010 President Obama was asked about his views on the boycotts of Arizona that many cities were advocating for as a form of protest against the law. The President stated that such a topic was not appropriate for him to comment on as the President. He renewed a call for amnesty through a "comprehensive reform package."
Larry King Interview
On June 3, 2010 President Obama spoke with Larry King about the law and stated that the law put hispanics at risk and would lead to 50 different state policies. He again called for a comprehensive amnesty policy.
I think this (law) puts American citizens who look hispanic, are hispanic, potentially in an unfair situation. And more importantly, it creates the prospect of 50 different laws, in 50 different states, when it comes to immigration. This is a federal job. What we have to do is take on that federal responsibility by working with border states in border security. And I told Governor Brewer that we've already put more resources into border security than we ever have. We've got more border guards in Arizona than we ever have. We just made the decision to put in additional National Guard.
But without comprehensive immigration reform, which is congress's responsibility, we are not gonna solve this problem.
Attorney General Holder
On May 9, 2010 Attorney General Holder appeared on This Week on ABC News and stated that he was concerned that SB1070 could lead to racial profiling. Days later, on May 13, 2010, he stated that he had in fact not read the bill.
Homeland Security Secretary
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was herself the Governor of Arizona, stated that it was not a law she would have signed and that many of the law enforcement officials she knew, would have opposed the legislation. She also stated that she had not read the bill.
Lawsuit Against Arizona
On July 6, 2010, the Obama administration filed suit against Governor Brewer and the state of Arizona. In response to this lawsuit, Governor Brewer made the following remarks:
It is wrong that our own federal government is suing the people of Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law. As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels. Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice.
 Website: Fox News Article: Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law Author: NA Accessed on: 09/24/2010