Obama criticizes new Georgia immigration law

ATLANTA Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:43pm EDT

President Barack Obama pauses during his remarks at a fundraiser at Soundstage 30 at Sony Picture Studios in Los Angeles, California, April 21, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young

President Barack Obama pauses during his remarks at a fundraiser at Soundstage 30 at Sony Picture Studios in Los Angeles, California, April 21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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ATLANTA (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday criticized an immigration bill passed by Georgia's Legislature that would give police authority to question suspects about their immigration status.

Obama also defended his administration's record on securing U.S. borders and repeated his call for comprehensive immigration reform.

The Georgia bill is similar to one passed by Arizona last year that sparked a national debate on state attempts to crack down on illegal immigration.

Arizona's law criminalizes illegal immigration by defining it as trespass and allows local law enforcement agencies to question anyone they suspect lacks correct immigration papers.

Asked about the Georgia bill, Obama said: "It is a mistake for states to try to do this piecemeal. We can't have 50 different immigration laws around the country. Arizona tried this and a federal court already struck them down."

"The truth of the matter is that we've done more on enforcement than any previous administration. We have more border patrols. We have been engaging in serious crackdowns on employers who are hiring undocumented workers," Obama said in an interview with WSB-TV, which is based in Atlanta.

Georgia's Senate passed the bill this month but stripped out a state House requirement for many private employers to check the immigration status of newly hired employees on a federal database called E-Verify.

Republican Governor Nathan Deal told local television on Tuesday he was reviewing the legislation but planned to sign it into law.

A U.S. appeals court this month upheld an earlier court ruling that blocked parts of Arizona's immigration law from going into effect.

That included a provision that would require police to determine the immigration status of a person they have detained and suspect is in the country illegally.

Arizona-inspired immigration measures also are proceeding through legislatures in other states including Alabama, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

(Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing by Peter Bohan)

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Comments (14)
actnow wrote:
Obama, Durbin, Reid and Schumer refuse to defend the citizens of this nation unless they can pass a “comprehensive” immigration bill that provides amnesty and supports chain migration. Even the permanent ratification of e-Verify (to verify the legal status of workers) is too radical for them. Their constant talk of amnesty is the very fuel that keeps people coming here illegally (and the resulting devastation to U.S. jobs and gang violence). They hope to create a political base that will ensure a single party state forever (just as in Mexico). The best way to thwart this scheme is to contact your Congressmen and Senators on a regular basis and voice your outrage. Websites like Fairus.org are provide excellent information about this situation and what we can do.

Apr 26, 2011 10:21pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Skruples wrote:
Obama, Durbin, Reid and Schumer realize that there’s no functional alternative to dealing with the immigrants that are already here. Or did your vaunted politicians have some magic way of rounding up 13 million dispersed people and deporting them? For free?

No, they don’t. They do know that convincing idiots like you that immigration is going to end America is an easier way to get votes than to have any kind of comprehensive response or policy. The fuel that keeps bringing people here illegally is the massive economic gradient between Mexico and the United States, and if you believe otherwise than, really, stop posting your opinion online. You’re bringing the level of discourse down.

Apr 26, 2011 10:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Texas is next.. We’re fed up!

Apr 26, 2011 11:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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