Immigrant rights groups are calling for federal intervention to counter a newly enacted measure in Arizona that forces police officers to determine the immigration status of someone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant. Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill on Friday following its approval in the state legislature earlier in the week. Opponents call it the harshest anti-immigrant measure in the country and a license for racial profiling. Shortly after adding her signature, Brewer says she thinks the measure “is what’s best for Arizona.”
Gov. Jan Brewer: “I have decided to sign Senate Bill 1070 into law because, though many people disagree, I firmly believe it represents what’s best for Arizona.”
As Brewer spoke, thousands of protesters rallied outside the State Capitol. Democratic Congress member Raul Grijalva urged federal non-cooperation with the new law.
Rep. Raul Grijalva: “We have insisted on non-cooperation with this state law by the federal government. Immigration is a federal law. It has supremacy. And if our federal government tells the state of Arizona, 'You can have the law, we are not detaining, we are not processing, we are not accessing your law,' then it is moot. And I think that is the next step, is the non-cooperation.”
Another major protest was held on Sunday with thousands of people in attendance. At the White House, President Obama denounced the bill and suggested the federal government could intervene.
President Obama: “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 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. 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.”