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New immigration law won't hurt economy, Arizona governor says

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Arizona governor: New law helps economy
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: Businesses have long asked for tougher immigration action
  • But law's opponents argue it will cause tourists, businesses to stay away
  • New law requires police to determine whether a person is in U.S. legally
  • Phoenix, Arizona, mayor says he'll sue to block the law

(CNN) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday deflected concerns that the state's new immigration law will hurt economic development, saying many businesses have long wanted tougher action.

The new law requires Arizona police to determine whether people are in the United States legally if there is a reason to suspect they aren't. Brewer signed the controversial legislation into law on Friday.

"The bottom line is that when I go about meeting with businesses that come into Arizona ... they want to know that we have a safe and secure environment into which to move their businesses here," Brewer said at an Arizona Town Hall event in Tucson. "They want to know that their employees are going to have a quality of life that they've had in the places where they're moving from to move here."

"I believe it's not going to have the kind of economic impact that some people think that it might," Brewer, a Republican, said.

Would you boycott Arizona over immigration law?

The law, scheduled to go into effect 90 days after the close of the state's legislative session, would require immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times. Previously, officers could check someone's immigration status only if that person was suspected in another crime.

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  • Immigration
  • Arizona
  • Barack Obama

Critics say the law could foster racial profiling and prompt businesses, conventions and tourists to stay away from the state. The bill has prompted rallies by opponents and supporters, and some prominent politicians in Washington and Arizona have criticized the measure, including Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, who has said he'll file a lawsuit to block the law.

People have been protesting the bill outside the state Capitol since Friday, CNN affiliate KTVK reported.

"People are going to be stopped just because of the color of [their] skin. And it ain't right," protester Jose Acosta told CNN on Sunday. "Are they going to be looking for Europeans as well, or is it just the brown people?"

Supporters say the measure is needed because the federal government has failed to enforce its own immigration laws. In Tucson on Monday, Brewer said she has written to the federal government five times about the issue in the past year and a half.

"[The letters] have been met with complete, total disrespect to the people of Arizona. I mean, we don't even get an answer back from our letters in regard to securing our border," Brewer said. "So, given that, I think it was time that Arizonans did step up, and that was one reason why I think that [the new state legislation] was signed."

Brewer emphasized an executive order she issued last week to accompany the law will require additional training for local officers on how to implement the law without engaging in racial profiling.

"I want you all to know that racial profiling is illegal. It's the law," she said Monday. "We are going to be very diligent, and we're going to make absolutely sure that that law ... will be implemented properly and respectfully."

Gordon, Phoenix's mayor and a Democrat, said his office hopes the City Council will authorize the city to file a lawsuit Tuesday.

"Convention [and] tourist business groups have already gotten dozens of calls. We're pleading with them not to boycott Phoenix or the state because of [the bill]," Gordon said Monday on CNN's "The Situation Room." "There will be court challenges. I'm confident that the federal courts will enjoin it at least until it is determined [whether it's] constitutional and how to enforce it so that officers don't get sued by individuals alleging civil rights violations."

President Obama last week called the legislation "misguided" and said the federal government must act on the immigration issue.

"Our failure to act responsible at the federal level will only open the door to irresponsibility by others. That includes, for example, the recent efforts in Arizona, which threaten to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and their communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe," the president said in Washington at a naturalization ceremony for 24 members of the military.

CNN's Casey Wian contributed to this report.