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Obama Slams Arizona Ethnic Profiling Bill

by Kenneth R. Bazinet

President Obama strongly opposes an Arizona bill that would allow police officers to stop anyone they suspect is an illegal alien. Obama said the Arizona legislation demonstrates a need to pass comprehensive immigration reform in Washington.

Warren Stewart Sr., pastor of the First Institutional Baptist Church in Phoenix, tells a crowd that a sweeping immigration bill must go during a rally at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Tuesday, April 20, 2010. President Obama has also voiced stron concern over the measure. (AP Photos/Amanda Lee Myers) “Indeed, 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 threatened 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,” Obama said at a ceremony where military veterans became naturalized citizens.

“In fact, I’ve instructed members of my administration to closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this 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,” Obama added.

Opponents of the pending Arizona law say it gives cops a license for ethnic profiling and will not tackle the larger immigration problem. Ultimately courts will likely have to decide whether the law is constitutional.

The bill, which awaits Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature, would allow cops with “reasonable suspicion” to demand documentation from people they think are illegal aliens.

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