By Sam Youngman - 04/23/10 02:55 PM EDT
President Barack Obama on Friday called for Congress to continue to work toward immigration reform, saying failure to act on a federal level has led to "misguided" efforts to curb illegal immigration, including in Arizona.
Obama, speaking at a naturalization ceremony for servicemen and women in the White House Rose Garden, said he has instructed his administration to monitor the situation in Arizona, where a law awaiting the governor's signature would require suspected illegal immigrants to produce identification documents.
The president said he has directed his administration to "closely monitor the situation and examine the civil rights and other implications of this legislation."
"If we continue to fail to act at a federal level, we will continue to see misguided efforts around the country," Obama said.
The president cited "the recent efforts in Arizona which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans as well as the trust in policies and their communities that are so crucial to keeping us safe."
Democrats have hinted in recent days that immigration reform could be the next big item they take up after financial regulatory reform.
Obama commended Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) for continuing to push for reform.
In saying he would continue to consult with lawmakers on the issue, Obama noted that there are 11 senators in office now who voted for reform in 2006.
Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chairman, said in an interview with MSNBC on Friday that the fight over the immigration bill in Arizona is stepping up pressure in Washington to do the same.