Washington President Barack Obama left little doubt Wednesday that his administration will challenge Arizona’s divisive new immigration law, saying the measure “has the potential of being applied in a discriminatory fashion.”
After a private meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in the Oval Office, Obama denounced the state law cracking down on illegal immigration and also sent a clear message that a review led by Justice Department lawyers is likely to culminate in legal action.
Obama said that “a fair reading of the language of the statute” suggests those who appear to be illegal immigrants could be “harassed or arrested.”
“In the United States of America, no law-abiding person — be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico — should (ever) be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like,” Obama said.
Mexico is deeply unhappy over the Arizona law, which makes it a crime for immigrants not to carry registration papers. Mexican officials went so far as to issue a travel advisory that warns residents they could face harassment should they visit the state.
Calderon used the news conference to make known his displeasure. Speaking through a translator, he called the law “discriminatory,” adding that he opposes steps that “criminalize migration.”