Ariz. governor signs immigration enforcement bill - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Ariz. governor signs immigration enforcement bill

Ariz. governor signs immigration enforcement bill

A Customs and Border Patrol agent patrols along the international border after sunset in Nogales, Ariz. Thursday, April 22, 2010. A Customs and Border Patrol agent patrols along the international border after sunset in Nogales, Ariz. Thursday, April 22, 2010.
By PAUL DAVENPORT and JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law the nation's toughest legislation against illegal immigration Friday, a sweeping measure that supporters said would take handcuffs off police but which President Barack Obama said could violate people's civil rights.

The bill, sent to the Republican governor by the GOP-led Legislature, 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 illegal immigrants.

Brewer, who faces a tough election battle and growing anger in the state over illegal immigrants, said the law "protects every Arizona citizen," and said the state must act because the federal government has failed.

"We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act," Brewer said after signing the law. "But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation."

The bill takes effect in 90 days after the current legislative sessions in the next several weeks.

Obama said in Washington that 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 â€" 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.

Powered by Frankly