Obama: Ariz. immigration measure 'misguided' - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Obama: Ariz. immigration measure 'misguided'

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, left, looks on as President Barack Obama gestures during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, April 23, 2010 in Washington. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, left, looks on as President Barack Obama gestures during a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, April 23, 2010 in Washington.
By PAUL DAVENPORT and JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press

PHOENIX – President Barack Obama called an Arizona immigration bill "misguided" Friday and said it could violate people's civil rights, intensifying pressure on the state's Republican governor to veto the nation's toughest legislation against illegal immigration.

Obama said he's instructed the Justice Department to examine the Arizona bill to see if it's legal, and said the federal government must enact immigration reform at the national level — or leave the door open 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.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who faces a tough election battle and growing anger in the state over illegal immigrants, is nearing a deadline to act on the sweeping measure, which would make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It would also require local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.

Brewer has until Saturday to decide whether to sign the measure, veto it or allow it to become law without her signature. She's under intense pressure from anti-illegal immigration groups and lawmakers in her own party to sign the bill, but has given no indication what she will do.

Civil rights activists have said the bill would lead to racial profiling and deter Hispanics from reporting crimes. Hundreds of Hispanics protested the legislation at the State Capitol complex on Thursday.

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