Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the toughest illegal immigration bill in the country into law 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 she signed the bill at a 4:30 p.m. news conference here, President Obama strongly criticized it.
Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 24 active-duty service members in the Rose Garden, he called for a federal overhaul of immigration laws — an overhaul that Congressional leaders signaled they were preparing to take up soon.
Saying the failure of officials in Washington to act on immigration would open the door to “irresponsibility by others,” he said the Arizona bill threatened “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.”