Obama warns of ‘misguided’ immigration efforts

* Obama refers to America’s “broken immigration system”

* Democrats may push immigration reform effort in Congress

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON, April 23 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama on
Friday warned that without federal immigration reform the door
would be open to “misguided efforts” such as the recent measure
in Arizona that has raised questions of civil rights.

Obama pressed for immigration reform at a White House Rose
Garden ceremony in which 24 members of the U.S. military
originally from China, Mexico, Ethiopia and other countries
became American citizens.

“Today we celebrate the very essence of the country that we
all love — an America where so many of our forbearers came
from someplace else,” said Obama, whose father was Kenyan.

“And so on a day like this, we are also reminded of how we
must remain both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws,”
he said. “This includes fixing America’s broken immigration
system.”

Democratic leaders in Congress are weighing whether to try
this year to push through immigration reform, a contentious
issue in the United States where about 10.8 million illegal
immigrants live and work in the shadows.

Obama’s Democratic Party fears a political backlash from
Hispanics in the November congressional elections because of a
lack of movement on the issue since Obama took office. But many
conservatives oppose easing the pathway to citizenship for
illegal immigrants and complain they drain resources and take
jobs from U.S. citizens.

Obama seized on legislation passed this week by Arizona
lawmakers that would require police in the state that borders
Mexico to determine if people are in the United States
illegally. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, has not
yet signed it into law, and opponents of the measure say it is
unconstitutional and are pressing her to veto it.

“Our failure to act responsibly at the federal level will
only open the door to irresponsibility by others,” Obama said.

“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,” he said.

The Arizona bill requires state and local police to
determine the status of people if there is “reasonable
suspicion” that they are illegal immigrants and to arrest
people who are unable to provide documents proving they are in
the country legally.

“If we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will
continue to see misguided efforts opening up around the
country,” Obama said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs later said if the
Arizona measure became law in that state, Obama has asked that
the Justice Department look into any civil rights
implications.

Hispanics were key to Obama winning Nevada in the 2008
presidential election and may determine if Senate Democratic
leader Harry Reid wins another six-year term representing that
state in November.

Congressional leaders have discussed taking up immigration
reform this year, but after the hard-fought healthcare reform
battle it may be difficult to get another highly controversial
legislation through Congress before the elections.

Stock Analysis

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria; Editing by Vicki Allen)

Obama warns of ‘misguided’ immigration efforts