Arizona Governor signs tough immigration bill

Arizona
Gov. Jan Brewer on signed into law a new state immigration bill that President
Barack Obama called “misguided” hours earlier.

Brewer,
saying that the state had been “more than patient waiting for Washington
to act” on the issue of illegal immigration, said that the bill would
protect Arizona citizens without violating individuals’ constitutional rights.

The
sweeping legislation makes it a crime under state law to be in the country
illegally. It also requires local police officers to question people about
their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are illegal
immigrants.
At a press conference
to announce her decision to sign the bill, the Arizona governor countered the
claim of opponents who have said that the law essentially legalizes racial
profiling.
“I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in
Arizona,” Brewer said.  

Obama
that the law “threaten[s] 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.”

He
said he’s instructed the Justice Department to examine he 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.”

Arizona
has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants and is the state with the most
illegal border crossings, with the harsh, remote desert serving as the gateway
for thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans.
Other provisions of the bill allow lawsuits against government agencies that hinder
enforcement of immigration laws, and make it illegal to hire illegal immigrants
for day labour or knowingly transport them.
The bill takes effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends.

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