Obama: Arizonans “irresponsible” for immigration-enforcement vote

posted at 12:55 pm on April 23, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Border states have become frustrated beyond all patience with the federal government’s inability — and reluctance — to enforce immigration laws.  In Arizona, voters passed a law authorizing local and state police to investigate potential immigration violations, a measure that had overwhelming and bipartisan support in the state.   Instead of acknowledging the failure of several administrations to deal with immigration violations, including his own, Barack Obama lashed out at the state’s voters instead — and threatened to pursue civil-rights legal actions against them:

President Barack Obama criticized Arizona‘s tough immigration bill as irresponsible Friday and said his administration is examining whether it would violate civil rights.

Obama said the federal government must act responsibly to reform national immigration law — or “open the door to irresponsibility by others.”

“That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten 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 said.

If signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the legislation would require police to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally. Civil rights activists say such a law would lead to racial profiling and deter Hispanics from reporting crimes.

Obama instructed the Justice Department to examine the bill to see if it would violate civil rights.

In an ironic yet completely intentional milieu, Obama made his remarks in front of dozens of people who had just been naturalized after serving in the US armed forces.  Presumably, these new citizens wound up in the Rose Garden because they followed the law in coming to the US.  Instead of supporting compliance with the law, Obama attacked those who would secure the rights of others to immigrate legally by cracking down on those who don’t.

Interestingly, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer hasn’t signed the bill into law yet.  She has until tomorrow to do so, but the delay seems to indicate that she’s not exactly enthusiastic about approving the measure.  It’s one of the toughest bills in the nation, and certainly controversial.  It allows police to question people about their immigration or citizenship status without the normal levels of probable cause, and not even all law-enforcement agencies agree on its reach:

The law would require the police “when practicable” to detain people they reasonably suspected were in the country without authorization. It would also allow the police to charge immigrants with a state crime for not carrying immigration documents. And it allows residents to sue cities if they believe the law is not being enforced.

Members of the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, a group of police leaders pressing for a federal overhaul of immigration law, said they worried that other states would copy Arizona, despite the likelihood that the law will be challenged in federal court.

“Just because it is in Arizona doesn’t mean it’s likely to remain there,” said George Gascón, the chief of the San Francisco Police Department and a former chief in Mesa, a Phoenix suburb. “We are very concerned about what could happen to public safety.”

The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and several sheriffs have also come out against the bill, calling it burdensome and an intrusion into a federal matter.

Most police agencies or jails here already check the immigration status of people charged with a crime, in consultation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but the new law would expand that power and allows the police to stop people on the suspicion of being in the country without documents.

Civil libertarians have already expressed objections to that kind of police intervention, and perhaps for good reason. The authority granted police seems to go beyond reasonable doubt, and how exactly police come to suspect that a person has violated immigration law is suspicious in itself.

However, Arizonans didn’t pass this law because Congress hasn’t enacted comprehensive immigration reform, as Obama insisted at the White House today. They passed this law because the federal government has abdicated its responsibilities to enforce existing immigration law. We don’t need a comprehensive immigration reform bill to resolve that — we just need the Department of Homeland Security and Barack Obama to do their jobs.

Update: Be sure to read Cassy Fiano’s take on the bill in the Green Room.

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Unbeleivable that the POTUS is such a partisan, foolish, ignorant, hack. What a disgrace and an embarrassment to the Republic. Give him honorary Mexican citizenship.

ultracon on April 24, 2010 at 11:49 AM


Who was it that stood in front of the world and Chief Justice Roberts and swore to uphold and protect the Constitution as the CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF ITS LAWS?

This president must be removed from office. To allow him to sit there until 2013 will destroy this country by inflaming it against itself until America burns.

cane_loader on April 24, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Most of the people against this bill don’t realize Arizona is under siege right now by lawlessness, or they don’t care, thus their opinions should not be considered.

Move forward with it until order is reestablished.

scotash on April 24, 2010 at 1:03 PM

To me, possibly the most terrifying thing about the increasingly clear need to remove Obama post haste is that the normal Constitutional removal mechanisms may be short-circuited beyond repair by the treasonous partisanship of the Democrats and the media.

If the removal mechanism is broken, when a majority of this country is practically screaming for Obama to stop knocking down the pillars of our society, then the options to remove a tyrant have suddenly become fewer, and more dire.

This is terrifying when one thinks of the resulting chaos if the majority of the people want to fire Obama and the constituional removal mechanism is on the fritz.

Americans, in the end, will not suffer a tyrant. If a non-peaceful tranfer of power should take place, the blame for the resulting chaos will fall squarely on the shoulders of partisan Dems and complicit media whores who broke the removal mechanism by supporting the man, instead of the office.

We all had better pray that this doesn’t happen.

cane_loader on April 24, 2010 at 1:03 PM

So doesn’t Janet Napolitano have any sort of conflict of interest here? As a former governor who fought enforcement tooth and nail, isn’t her own “legacy” in Arizona at stake?

It’s a very bad thing that it happens to be Arizona, and the DHS chief happens to have had a large hand in creating the situation.

Sort of like Jamie Gorelick sitting on the 9/11 Commission?

cane_loader on April 24, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Why doesn’t the President temporarily move the residence
of the White House to Arizona with no Secret Service protection for
his wife and daughters just to prove his point. Stupid [email protected]

elderberry on April 24, 2010 at 1:12 PM




b1jetmech on April 24, 2010 at 1:47 PM

b1jetmech on April 24, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Si, senor; Buck Ofama.

Cybergeezer on April 24, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Mr Obama, you can go straight to hell! We are about to try for the same law here in Georgia. Your bimbo Napolitano, couldnt keep illegals out of her state, she is not capable of killing flies, much less keeping terrorists and illegals out of my country. Again Mr Obama go straight to hell!

kittyAJ on April 24, 2010 at 2:58 PM

I thought it was illegal to enter any of the 57 United States ILLEGALLY?

dthorny on April 24, 2010 at 3:01 PM

I live in Arizona and I’m very glad that this law has been passed.

This won’t solve the problem of illegals across the country, but it should at least discourage them from coming here.

Up till now there has been this scam going on where state governments pretend that they can’t arrest illegals because that is the job of the feds, knowing full well that the feds aren’t doing it. I can guarantee you that if a state police officer witnessed someone being murdered on federal land, that person would be arrested.

Illegal aliens who finagle their way into staying here legally obstruct legal immigration. Every time an illegal gets a judge to declare them legal, they kick a legal immigrant out of line. As a result, legal immigration from nations like Mexico is all but impossible.

Illegal immigration must be stopped to protect the rights of legal immigrants.

leereyno on April 24, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Ef you Obama! States Rights, Sonny Jim. Ever read the Constitution? Yeah, you did Obummer and you swore to uphold it but you are trying your level best to trash it.


Sherman1864 on April 24, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Waiting for Texas to jump on board with this law. ILLEGAL is against the law of this land. It is time to start enforcing it. We should start with impeaching OBAMA.

whatzit2u on April 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Tejas will be next. Don’t mess w/ the Lone Star State, Soetoro.

BHO Jonestown on April 24, 2010 at 8:50 PM

We should start with impeaching OBAMA.

whatzit2u on April 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Because he’s an illegal?

The Race Card on April 24, 2010 at 10:41 PM

Because he’s an illegal?

The Race Card on April 24, 2010 at 10:41 PM

nope, it’s just that pesky “natural born” part that could cause some problems

Fighton03 on April 24, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Fighton03 on April 24, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Are you speaking for whatzit?

The Race Card on April 24, 2010 at 11:30 PM

Are you hearing us Barry?

FireBlogger on April 24, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Our Hip-Hop Prez sez…”Sit down! Shut up! Jeez…stupid damned Americans… They act like they own this country or somethin’…”
Yeah…everyone knows the government owns everything, is everything and controls everything. Just like in North Korea or Cuba or…

Army Brat on April 25, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Say it.

The Race Card on April 25, 2010 at 12:42 AM

If Obama has gotten all of you this worked up, he must be doing something right! I haven’t heard this much whining since… well, since Bush was President!

pm123 on April 25, 2010 at 1:27 AM

“The last thing they need is another open loophole to detain and harass law-abiding citizens, particularly with the ability to arrest them solely for not providing identification.

Want to deal with illegal immigration? Deport, deport, deport. Deport them”

How do you deport them without stopping and detaining?

Bevan on April 25, 2010 at 6:34 AM

Can you imagine what would happen if President Zero had another press conference? He would destroy his presidency in one hour.

The press would question him. Hard. Even Helen Thomas would get in on it.

President Zero would get mad. Then angry. Then livid. Then furious. How dare the rabble question His Majesty?

He would say things that make “You would think they would thank me!” look like a toddler yelling “poopyhead” in the sandbox.

The empty suit chose strong handlers who know what they’re doing. This is why they won’t allow him to give another presser.

Grace_is_sufficient on April 25, 2010 at 7:03 AM

Threats from Obama are like dieting tips from his wife, something we don’t have to worry about being successfully carried out.

ray on April 25, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Arizonans, listen up-you must listen to your Messiah.

Repent and you will be saved from his wrath.

technopeasant on April 25, 2010 at 9:09 PM

It’s all about the O and the Ogenda.

Army Brat on April 25, 2010 at 10:14 PM

Obama is the first Muslim Mexican gay president.

leftnomore on April 26, 2010 at 2:11 AM

What we need is national identity cards!

SC.Charlie on April 26, 2010 at 12:55 PM

All the things you hate, huh, leftnomore?

pm123 on April 26, 2010 at 3:44 PM


Jaibones on April 26, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Only some one that is self serving and interested in getting something for themselves would say such. As much as i am a Texan, i am an American and i stand with the people of Arizona. In America, we stand together UNITED. Hurt one of us, you hurt all of us.

Orion Prime on April 27, 2010 at 10:31 AM