Washington, DC – Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued the following statement in response to reports that the Obama administration will challenge the 2010 Arizona immigration enforcement law.

Ranking Member Smith:  “An Obama administration lawsuit against the people of the state of Arizona reflects the height of irresponsibility and arrogance.  The Obama administration insulted the views of the majority of the American people who support this needed law. 

“Arizona has taken a reasonable, constitutional approach to dealing with a problem that has been ignored by the federal government. 

“Critics claim that the law promotes racial profiling, yet the law expressly prohibits racial profiling four separate times.

“Critics claim that the law requires non-citizens to carry identification that they wouldn’t otherwise be required to carry, yet federal law requires non-citizens including visitors and lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) to keep their registration documents on their person.  The Arizona law simply requires non-citizens to follow the federal law!

“Critics claim that the law requires police officers to stop people on the streets to question them about their immigration status.  In fact, this provision of the Arizona law only takes effect if and after a police officer has made a ‘lawful stop, detention or arrest…in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town…’  Individuals may not be stopped simply on suspicion and asked for their papers.” 

–30–

Editor’s Note:  Ranking Member Smith recently wrote in The Hill that the Obama administration’s hostility to immigration enforcement goes far beyond its opposition to Arizona’s law.  He said:  “It is part of a broader pattern to ignore the law until they can change it to allow millions of illegal immigrants to become citizens.”