House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) indicated Tuesday that Arizona imposed the nation’s toughest immigration law due to the deficiencies of the federal government at the border.
“I think they’re right,” said Hoyer when addressing questions about failures to protect the border with Mexico. “The Feds haven’t done their job.”
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed into law a measure that permits police to stop and detain anyone “on reasonable suspicion” that they may be in the U.S. illegally. Persons can be arrested if they can’t produce proper documentation. Police are not permitted to have a search warrant and there are constitutional questions about what “probable cause” authorities may use to investigate someone.
“It’s difficult to see how that’s going to be carried out in a way that’s consistent with civil liberties,” Hoyer said.
Reporters asked House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) Tuesday if the law was reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
“I think that kind of analogy is inappropriate,” responded Cantor, who is the only Jewish Republican in the House. “The injection of the kind of comments that were suggested just now have no place in this debate.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said he supported what Arizona’s action.
“The people of Arizona have that the right under the Tenth Amendment to write their laws and they have,” Boehner said. “I think we should respect people and their right.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) signaled last week that she was willing to defer on climate change legislation in lieu of the Senate moving first on reforming the country’s immigration laws. But Hoyer indicated that the Senate has to move first on immigration reform. Not the House.
“There’s an understanding between the House and Senate,” Hoyer said of the Senate going first. “I think there’s a general agreement that the Senate has been the body that’s had the most trouble (on immigration).”
- FOX’s Sarah Courtney contributed to this report.