Arizona Governor Signs Controversial Immigration Enforcement Bill

Published April 23, 2010

| FoxNews.com

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a controversial bill that seeks to crack down on illegal immigration.

The sweeping measure will make it a crime under state law to be in the country illegally. It will also require local police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally.

It takes effect 90 days after the current legislative sessions end in the next several weeks.

Before signing the bill, Brewer called the measure "another step forward in protecting the state of Arizona."

She said the bill "represents another tool for our state to use as we work to solve a crisis that we did not create and the federal government has refused to fix -- the crisis caused by illegal immigration." 

Earlier, President Obama called the bill "misguided" and said it could violate people's civil rights. He said he's instructed the Justice Department to see if it is legal.

The bill's Republican sponsor, state Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, said Obama and other critics of the bill were "against law enforcement, our citizens and the rule of law."

Civil rights activists have said the bill would lead to racial profiling and deter Hispanics from reporting crimes.

Brewer said she wouldn't tolerate racial profiling.

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the State Capitol complex Friday calling on Brewer to veto the legislation.

Demonstrators have been camped outside the Capitol since the measure passed out of the Legislature on Monday. Their numbers have grown steadily throughout the week, with buses bringing protesters from as far away as Los Angeles.

About a dozen supporters of the measure also gathered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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