April 28, 2010 — -- A Texas lawmaker said today that she agrees with the controversial immigration bill passed in Arizona and plans to introduce a similar one in her own state to combat the flow of illegal immigrants.
Republican Texas Rep. Debbie Riddle told ABCNews.com that the bill she plans to introduce in the state legislature later this year "gives law enforcement officers additional tools, if they have the reasonable suspicion that there is a violation of a law, to inquire into an individual's immigration status."
Riddle, who is up for election in November, introduced similar legislation last session, but it never made it out of committee.
She says that like Arizona's Gov.Jan Brewer, who is under fire from both Democrats and Republicans over the state's new anti-immigrant law, her first priority is to "make sure that the safety and security of citizens is well established, not to determine whether I get positive or negative or no attention at all."
"The people who are saying [these laws] are racially motivated are trying to divert attention for their own selfish greed," said Riddle.
"To say police will be grabbing every Hispanic person off the street, that's ridiculous," she said. "That would be an abuse of the law."
Each officer would have to have "reasonable suspicion" to ask an individual for identification, said Riddle.
"If you're here legally, then by federal law you have to carry that green card on your person," she said. "So if you're here legally, there really shouldn't be a problem."
Riddle said that while her district is near Houston and isn't directly on the border of Mexico, illegal immigrants use her community's hospitals and schools and leave the bill to "tax-paying citizens of Texas."
Arizona Governor Takes to Facebook to Defend Immigration Policy
Earlier today, Brewer lashed out at her critics on her Facebook page writing that she will "not back down" on the law until the country's borders are secure.
Brewer went on Facebook for her defiant defense as criticism grew along with calls fresh calls for an economic boycott of Arizona.
"On Friday, I signed into law Senate Bill 1070. Since then I have come under fire from President Obama, Mayor Phil Gordon, the liberal east coast media, Al Sharpton and others who want us to back down from securing our borders," Brewer, a Republican, wrote. "Rest assured, we will not back down until our borders are secure."
The latest to criticize Arizona's law is former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, a Republican who once worked in the administration of President George W. Bush.
"I'm uncomfortable with it from what I've seen and heard," Ridge told the Associated Press.
Ridge said he blames both the Democratic and Republican parties for not coming up with a better immigration policy that might have made it unnecessary for Brewer to sign her own law. Ridge called the immigration issue "a pox on both parties."
Brewer's office did not immediately respond to Ridge's remarks.
In California, politicians are discussing boycotting Arizona businesses, led by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom who ordered a ban Tuesday on all city employee travel to Arizona, except cases involving law enforcement.
Los Angeles City Council members Ed Reyes and Janice Hahn said that they are reviewing the city's business contracts with Arizona.
"We can say that Los Angeles will not do business with Arizona," Hahn told ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KABC. "We're looking at all of our contracts and we will have a lot of leverage over that state."
Speaking an event in Washington, D.C., former president Bill Clinton told CBS, "I don't like that Arizona bill, but I get why it happened."
And at a town hall meeting Tuesday evening in Ottumwa, Iowa, President Obama called the law "poorly conceived."
"[N]ow suddenly if you don't have your papers and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to be harassed. That's something that could potentially happen," Obama said.
Nationwide, Arizona Immigration Law Draws Ire
In what was perhaps the sharpest rebuke to the Arizona law, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Tuesday that he has "no intention of complying" with the new immigration law, calling it "abominable" and a "national embarrassment."
Dupnik told ABCNews.com that he'd like Brewer to know that "what she and the legislature has accomplished is morally wrong and a national embarrassment."
"If the chief of police or sheriff takes a squad out and says to them that their only duty is to go out and round up illegal immigrants, they are going to racially profile," said Dupnik. "But we have never done that and we will never do that."
Dupnik joined a long list of politicans who have already spoken out against the law.
Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told POLITICO of the law, "I think it creates unintended consequences."
"It's difficult for me to imagine how you're going to enforce this law," said Bush. "It places a significant burden on local law enforcement and you have civil liberties issues that are significant as well."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who repeatedly vetoed the bill when she was Arizona governor, and Attorney General Eric Holder both have questioned the wisdom and constitutionality of the law.
Disagreement over the legislation has even split political families. Arizona Sen. John McCain has taken a hard-line stance in favor of his state's new law, but his daughter Meghan blogged her disagreement.
"I believe it gives the state police a license to discriminate," wrote Meghan McCain.
The many calls for a boycott of Arizona has business owners worried. For the first time since he opened Portland's Restaurant in Phoenix nine years ago, owner Dylan Bethge is concerned about his business.
"It could take about a quarter of our business away if we lost some big conventions," Bethge said today.