Like many of you, I support the new law passed by Arizona to allow local law enforcement to check the legal status of an individual if, in the course of their duties, they have "reasonable suspicion" that the person may be in the U.S. illegally. Arizona has the right to protect their citizens from the wave of violence that has crossed into their state as a result of drug trafficking and human smuggling. The passage of the state law, which 70% of Arizonians supported, is a direct result of the federal government's failure to control and secure the southern border. It does not matter where an individual immigrates from, it only matters that they do it legally.
Many people have also written about Mexican President Felipe Calderon's comments on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives criticizing Arizona's immigration law. All foreign leaders should respect the laws and sovereignty of another country. I did not appreciate Calderon's decision to use the platform as a way to unfairly malign the state of Arizona and, by extension, the American people.
Another issue that has caused concern are comments made by Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) John Morton. According to the Arizona Republic ("ICE chief criticizes Arizona immigration law," 5/19/2010), Secretary Morton stated that ICE will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to ICE by Arizona officials. Rest assured, as a Member of Congress responsible for the oversight of executive branch agencies and departments, I will insist that Secretary Morton carry out the mission of ICE and enforce our nation's immigration laws. Any individual referred to ICE as an illegal immigrant, from any state in the Union, must be processed and, if found to be in the country illegally, deported.
Member of Congress