News / USA

Obama Concerned About Tough New Arizona Immigration Law

Multimedia

Kent Klein

A tough new immigration law has been enacted in the Southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.  U.S. President Barack Obama calls the crackdown misguided.    

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed legislation Friday that has been described as one of America's toughest immigration laws.

The new law requires police in Arizona to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.  Immigrants are now required to carry registration documents at all times.

Governor Brewer said drug violence in Mexico, along Arizona's southern border, has forced her to act, to protect the people of her state. "We in Arizona have been more than patient, waiting for Washington to act.  But decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation," she said.

Earlier, at the White House, President Obama said the Arizona legislation is the kind of irresponsibility that could result if the U.S. government does not act responsibly on immigration. "And 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," he said.

Mr. Obama said the Justice Department will look at the new Arizona law to determine whether it is legal, and whether it might violate people's civil rights. "In fact, I have instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation, but if we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the country," he said.

Civil rights activists have said the bill would lead to Hispanics being targeted by police because of their race.  Hundreds of Hispanics protested the legislation at the state capitol in Phoenix on Thursday.

Before signing the bill, Brewer said she has worked with state lawmakers to ensure that the legislation will respect people's civil rights. "I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona," she said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that more than 10 million people are in the country illegally, 460,000 of them in Arizona.  Thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans enter the U.S. illegally through the state.

President Obama said the controversy over the legislation should push U.S. lawmakers of both parties to reform national immigration policies. "I will continue to consult with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, and I would note that 11 current Republican Senators voted to pass immigration reform four years ago.  I am hopeful that they will join with Democrats in doing so again, so we can make the progress the American people deserve," he said.

At a naturalization ceremony for members of the U.S. military, Mr. Obama said businesses should obey immigration law and not undermine American workers.

The president also said illegal immigrants should pay their back taxes, admit responsibility for breaking the law, pay a penalty, learn English and pass criminal background checks, before they can get in line and eventually earn citizenship.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs