From Sunlen Miller:
President Obama today for the first time commented on the pending Arizona immigration case, saying the “misguided efforts” threaten to “undermine basic notions of fairness” that Americans cherish.
“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 our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe,” the president said from the Rose Garden today.
The controversial bill would require police to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the United States illegally. Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has said she will decide soon whether she will sign the legislation.
The president said today that he’s instructed members of the administration to “closely monitor” the situation and “examine the civilian rights” and other implications of the 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 warned.
Mr. Obama said that the American people deserve comprehensive immigration reform grounded in responsibility and accountability. He thanked the efforts of Senators Schumer and Graham for working to help forge a “bipartisan consensus of a framework moving forward,” and sent a message to the Hill today that he would like all to join in on the efforts.
“I’ll 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. And I’m hopeful that they will join with Democrats in doing so again so we can make the progress the American people deserve.”
The president made his remarks at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active duty service members, who were sworn in by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano while the president watched just moments before.
“We celebrate the spirit of possibility, an ethic that says if you’re willing to put your shoulder to the wheel and apply your God- given talents, if you believe in yourself and you play by the rules then there is a place for you in the United States of America, no matter where you come from and no matter what you look like,” the president said congratulating the “newest citizens.”