Fed lawmakers speak out for and against harsh Arizona immigration bill

On Capitol Hill, Prominent Latino Reps Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) denounced Arizona’s controversial immigration bill and urged Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) to veto the legislation. The bill, passed by the state Senate yesterday and due to hit the governor’s desk this week, would make it a state crime to be undocumented and would require local police to ask people about their citizenship status. As one observer put it, brown-skinned Arizonans will be wise to not even walk to the corner without their wallets.

The two Congressmen argued that the law was racist and unAmerican. Meanwhile, Arizona Sen John McCain, who’s engaged in a tough reelection bid and trying out a new hard-right persona, told Bill O’Reilly that part of the need for the law was to prevent illegal-alien drivers from intentionally causing accidents on the roads, a justification that seemed to give even O’Reilly pause.

CNN reports:

“When you institutionalize a law like this one, you are targeting and discriminating at a wholesale level against a group of people,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona, told reporters…

Grijalva, whose district runs from the Mexican border to the outskirts of Phoenix, said the legislation “is not just mean-spirited, it is directed at a specific population.” And Gutierrez, D-Illinois, said the measure infringes on the federal government’s authority over immigration laws.

Gutierrez added in a statement after the conference that if the Gov. Brewer doesn’t veto the bill, the President should “assert the federal governments’ preeminent role in regulating and enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. … The lunacy of rounding up people because they look a certain way or are suspected of being in violation of immigration statutes can only lead to one thing: profiling. I am Puerto Rican, I was born in Chicago, and my family has been U.S. citizens for generations, but look at my face, listen to my voice: I could get picked up. Is this what we want in America?”

Here’s the new tough-on-immigrants McCain:

Hat tip to Julissa Trevino.

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