Nightly News   |  April 23, 2010

Immigration bill 'misguided,' Obama says

The immigration issue flared up in Washington Friday as President Obama slammed an Arizona bill that would give police broad new powers to detain suspected illegal immigrants and require residents to carry immigration documents. Telemundo's Jose Diaz-Balart reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> begins now.

>>> good evening. a central question in the news tonight, is it legal, is it right for a police officer to come up to you and ask you to produce i.d. if you're suspected of entering the country illegally? this is playing out tonight in the state of arizona where there are 500,000 immigrants and the governor just signed the single toughest law in the nation against illegal immigration . governor says she's fixing a crisis the federal government refuses to fix. she's going against the president on this one. our report tonight from jose diaz velarde from phoenix .

>> reporter: late this afternoon, arizona governor signed the controversial bill, the toughest state law against illegal immigration in the country.

>> i decided to sign senate bill 1070 into law because, though many people disagree, i firmly believe it represents what's best for arizona .

>> reporter: with her signature, arizona is now in direct conflict with the white house , where the president welcomed the country's newest americans sworn in today as u.s. citizens . mr. obama used the occasion to criticize arizona 's immigration law as misguided.

>> 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 .

>> reporter: for days now, hundreds of protestors gathered outside of arizona 's capitol building hoping the governor would veto the law, calling it a license to discriminate. supporters say the law is long overdue, that it's critical to securing arizona 's border.

>> no longer could we sit on the sidelines and be a spectator to the the destruction of this nation.

>> reporter: the law makes illegal immigration a state crime and requires local police to check the status of anyone they believe is here illegally. sheriff joe are pay go says he has another tool to stop border crossings . what about the folks who say that is nothing more than racial profiling ?

>> we do not racial profiling . when they can't get you on anything else they throw up the race car . card.

>> reporter: andrew sanchez grew up outside of phoenix .

>> they are not going to look for canadian immigrants .

>> reporter: republican governor brewer says she knows the nation is watching to see how arizona will enforce the law.

>> racial profiling is illegal. it will not be tolerated in america and certainly will not be tolerated in arizona .

>> reporter: tensions were high outside the capitol. at least one protestor was arrested. critics call the new law unconstitutional setting the stage for a showdown in court. jose diaz -balart, nbc news, phoenix .

>> to another major story tonight,