Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that the Obama administration supports “no enforcement” of immigration law as he defended Arizona’s controversial statute that gives police new powers to question people they suspect are in the country illegally.
The Justice Department is suing to block the statute, claiming it illegally preempts federal law.
“It should come as no surprise that any number of people who advocate open borders and advocate no enforcement of the law, including this current administration, are trying to throw up these roadblocks,” Hayworth said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Hayworth is challenging Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the GOP primary.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) attacked the Arizona law. He warned of a “constitutional crisis” because other states may adopt similar laws, and said the Arizona statute will unavoidably lead to widespread racial profiling.
“Who are they going to ask? They are going to ask somebody that looks Hispanic,” said Richardson, who is Hispanic, referring to police actions that will occur under the new state law. “They are not going to ask somebody that looks like J.D. Hayworth. They are going to ask somebody that looks like me.”
Richardson also said the law would hurt U.S. relations with Mexico and Central America. He called for broad federal immigration reform that includes enhanced border security and a path to citizenship for people in the country illegally.
But Hayworth disputed allegations that the state law would lead to profiling. “The law is clear — the civil rights of all persons will be respected,” he said.