Friday, April 23, 2010

U.S.’s Toughest Immigration Law Is Signed in Arizona, Sparking Bitter Debate

From the New York Times:
Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration law in the country on Friday, aimed at identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants. The governor’s move unleashed immediate protests and reignited the divisive battle over immigration reform nationally.

Even before Governor Brewer signed the law at a 4:30 p.m. news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it.

* * * * *

The law, which opponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in the country in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime. It would also give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have decried it as an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

The political debate leading up to Governor Brewer’s decision, and Mr. Obama’s criticism of the law — presidents very rarely weigh in on state legislation — underscored the power of the immigration debate in states along the Mexican border. It presaged the polarizing arguments that await the president and Congress as they take up the issue nationally.

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