Richardson: Ariz. Law May Spread to Other States

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Arizona’s controversial new immigration law will spread to other states if it is not successfully challenged in federal court.

Richardson, the nation’s only Hispanic governor, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the law is bitterly divisive, and many other states will try to pass similar bills next year.

“There are at least 10 other states with bills that are out there,” Richardson told host Bob Schieffer. “What you’re going to see is potentially a constitutional crisis with so many states taking what should be a federal responsibility.”

Richardson said he understood Arizona’s “frustration” because the country does not have comprehensive immigration reform.

But J. D. Hayworth, who is running against incumbent Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate, said the law is the state’s attempt to enforce federal immigration policies in light of neglect from the Obama administration.

“President Obama wants to ignore federal law,” Hayworth said. “John McCain, and now, it sounds like, Bill Richardson, want to erase federal law and want to erase immigration law and have amnesty – or as Bill calls it, comprehensive immigration reform.”

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s law, arguing that the bill, which will require state and local police to question and possibly arrest illegal immigrants during the enforcement of other laws such as traffic violations, usurps federal authority.

Richardson said that was only part of what’s wrong with the law.

“One, it is going to lead to racial profiling. Anybody that looks Hispanic is going to be racially profiled,” Richardson said. “Secondly, it preempts federal law. Immigration is a federal responsibility. Lastly it’s going to hurt our foreign policy with Central America, with Mexico.”

Richardson pointed out that six Mexican governors have refused to attend a border conference as a boycott of the Arizona law. The Border Governors Conference was scheduled to take place in Phoenix in September, but the Mexican delegation refused to set foot in Arizona. Richardson has >agreed to host the event in New Mexico.

“There are specifics in the law that says if the officer deems somebody to look suspicious, they can ask for their immigration papers. That is blatantly racial profiling. Who are they going to ask? They’re going to ask somebody that looks Hispanic. They’re not going to ask somebody that looks like J.D. Hayworth. They’re going to ask somebody that looks like me.”

But Hayworth denied that the law is discriminatory.

“There is no effort at ethnic profiling. The law itself says that the civil rights of all persons will be respected,” he said.

He cited a CBS New Poll that shows a majority of Americans seem to support the law, with 57 percent of Americans characterizing the law as “about right” in how it deals with illegal immigration.

Richardson said he wasn’t surprised by the findings because it shows that the federal government needs to tackle immigration reform, but Arizona’s law is not the way to go.

“My hope is that it gets struck down before it’s implemented at the end of July.”

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  • levotb

    Richardson’s an Open Borders joke. He has the nerve to tell Arizona citizens they haven’t the right to protect themselves? And by the way, he’s off by half at least 20 states have legislators who are planning 1070-style bills for their next session.

  • Kathleen

    The corrupt DOJ covered up and excused the corrupt activities of Bill Richardson. Richardson has no right to speak out on anything that has to do with law or enforcement of the law. Were it not for collusion on the part of the Obama administration and Richardson, Bill Richardson would not be able to speak out on anything; rather, he would be in a federal prison.

  • Augiestyles

    Its so funny to watch the circle logic of these clowns..Obama and his court jester Napolotano say that its impossible to secure the border BUT if we make 20 million illegals legal..then magically, they can secure the border. ITS A SCAM! They have no intention of securing the border, they don’t care about the American people. So don’t care about them in November.

  • Delaware Bob

    All I keep hearing is comprehensive immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform. How about some comprehensive ENFORCEMENT reform to get the illegal aliens out of this country?

    Richardson is out of his mind if he thinks we can give amnesty to 20 million illegal aliens. If Richardson cares this much for the illegal aliens, let him go back to mexico and help them there.

    We have 16-17 million Americans out of work right now, and the illegal aliens have jobs that Americans should have. The illegal aliens who are not working, are living off the dole of the American taxpayer. Let’s get the illegal aliens out of this Country. They don’t belong here!

  • Joy

    All this from a governor who wants as many Mexican illegals as registered democrat voters as possible before closing the border with Mexico?
    Gov. Richardsom still doesn’t get it that this law isn’t about race….never has been. It’s about legal/illegal.

  • rjn

    Since this all began it has irritated me that the federal government will do nothing about illegal immigration. They punish employers who employ illegals (even with documentation that looks authentic). The people who are being hired are not being taken advantage of, they are being paid at least minimum wage and it is being reported. If they are using falsified documents why is that not caught when we report their income to the federal government. The US government won’t put a stop to illegal immigration and the obvious question is “how are these people supposed to eat and have a place to live without a job?” I think Arizona is doing the exactly right thing and I hope this forces the federal government to secure our borders and fix this problem. The residents along the Mexican border are being put at risk due to this invasion. All of the opponents have made this into “hating Hispanics” and that is just a smoke screen to hide the real illegal problem.

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