Clinton comment on immigration law riles Ariz. gov
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Thursday she's angry over comments by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that the Obama administration will sue the state over its new immigration law.
In a June 8 media interview in Ecuador that began circulating Thursday in the U.S., Clinton said President Barack Obama thinks the federal government should determine immigration policy and that the Justice Department "will be bringing a lawsuit against the act."
Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler on Thursday declined to say whether the department would sue and that "the department continues to review the law."
The department has been looking at the law for weeks for possible civil rights violations, with an eye toward a possible court challenge.
It's unclear why Clinton made the comment since it's not her area. She couldn't be reached Thursday for comment.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Obama and Clinton have both made it clear that the administration opposes the law.
Brewer, a Republican, said in a statement that "this is no way to treat the people of Arizona."
Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor was "outraged" and that Clinton's comments make it appear that the Justice Department has decided to file suit.
On April 23, Brewer signed what is considered the toughest legislation in the nation targeting illegal immigrants. It is set to go into effect July 29 pending multiple legal challenges and the Justice Department's review.
Hasta la vista! Reports are swirling that Hispanics in Arizona are fleeing the state before a controversial new immigration law goes into effect July 29.
The law, which has sparked a heated national debate, requires police officers to conduct routine traffic stops or other checks to ask people about their immigration status if there is "reasonable suspicion" they're in the country illegally.
Though precise numbers are not yet available, early anecdotal reports from local schools, businesses and residents indicate that Hispanics could be leaving in droves to avoid the law's impact, USA Today reported Wednesday.
Superintendent Jeffrey Smith of the Balsz Elementary School District, which is 75% Hispanic, said 70 students were pulled out of school following the law's passage April 23 and that parents said it was the reason they were leaving.
The Arizona Republic reported last month that another Arizona school district, Alhambra, anticipates losing 200 to 300 students because of the law.
Retailers are expecting the hit too. David Castillo, co-founder of the Latin Association of Arizona, told USA Today that local businesses serving the Hispanic community have started to report declining profits, an indicator that illegal immigrants are stockpiling their cash to prepare for a move.
This isn't the first time an Arizona law has prompted a population shift. About 100,000 illegal immigrants moved elsewhere after a law was passed in 2007 that penalized businesses for hiring them, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
A recent Census report also suggests that Hispanics have been leaving Arizona since the recession began - approximately 40,000 relocated in 2008. Those who move typically do not return to Mexico but re-settle in other, friendlier states.
Paul Senseman, a spokesman for Republican Governor Jan Brewer who signed the inflammatory law, said he had heard similar reports of Hispanics planning to flee.
In all likelihood, Arizona will not see "tangible evidence" of any population change until late in the year when the schools are required to report their enrollment numbers, Amy Rezzonico, spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Education, told Fox News.
David Gutierrez, an immigration history professor at the University of California San Diego, said he is hesitant to predict that the law will have a dramatic impact on the numbers of Arizona Hispanics.
That being said, Gutierrez believes a mass exodus would be crippling for the state.
The clash over immigration continues to rage across the country. Today in Chicago, NBC reports, Alderman Danny Solis compared Arizona's law to Hitler's Third Reich.