POLITICS
08/24/2010 10:00 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Michael Steele Distances GOP From Arizona Immigration Law: It's Not 'A Reflection Of An Entire Political Party'

In an interview Monday with Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language network, Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele distanced the Republican Party from SB-1070, Arizona's controversial immigration law:

CMF: How do you say that Hispanics are relevant (important) for your party, when you just approved a law in Arizona against immigrants?

STEELE: Well, let's be clear. The actions of one state's governor is not a reflection of an entire country, nor is it a reflection of an entire political party. The governor and the people of Arizona made a decision that they thought was in their best interest, and that's the beauty of a republic, that's who we are.

CMF [Cutaway]: For Steele, the Arizona law against immigrants is not a reflection of our nation, and it is not a reflection of the Republican Party.

STEELE: We hope, now that this debate is in full bloom, level heads will prevail and that we'll reach a common sense solution with regards to immigration.

Most other national GOP figures have defended the legislation and sharply criticized the Obama administration's lawsuit against Arizona. Many Hispanic Republicans in Arizona, however, have denounced SB-1070, and Steele's comments may be an effort to live up to his pledge to increase diversity in the Republican Party.

Steele is currently facing significant criticism and backlash within the GOP for his string of gaffes, trouble recruiting donors, and struggles managing the party's money.