Boehner: Respect Arizona's right to pass its own immigration laws

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged "respect" on Tuesday for Arizona's tough new immigration law.

The top House Republican defended the state's right to implement what's widely regarded to be the toughest anti-illegal immigration measure in the U.S., though he did not comment directly on his thoughts on the legislation.

"The people of Arizona have the right under the 10th Amendment to write their own laws -- and they have," Boehner said at a press conference on the Capitol. "It has a 70 percent approval in Arizona and I think we ought to respect the people of Arizona and everyone should make their own decisions."

The Arizona law compels law enforcement authorities to actively seek out individuals whom they suspect to be illegal immigrants, a requirement which immigrants' rights groups worry may lead to racial profiling.

The state's Republican governor has stood up for the law, dismissing threats of a boycott of the state, and one of the state's most prominent lawmakers, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, has said the measure is a response to the federal government's failure to defend the border.

Still, other GOP lawmakers have been loath to cozy up to the law or condemn it too harshly.

Democrats, for their part, have been more vocal in speaking out against the state law. President Barack Obama blasted the proposal last week, while Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) on Monday likened some of the provisions to Nazi Germany.

The second-ranking House Republican, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), condemned that comparison this morning.

"That kind of analogy is something that smacks of being inappropriate," said Cantor, who is the only Jewish Republican in Congress.

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