Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law
Justice Department Files Suit Against Arizona Immigration Law
Published July 06, 2010
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks to the media in Kabul June 30. (Reuters Photo)
Accusing Arizona of trying to “second guess” the federal government, the Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s
immigration policy — claiming the “invalid” law interferes with
federal immigration responsibilities and “must be struck down.”
Gov. Jan Brewer slammed the U.S. government saying the suit is a “massive waste of taxpayer funds.”
“It is wrong that our own federal government is suing the people of Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law. As a direct result of failed and inconsistent
federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug
and immigrant smuggling cartels,” she said in a prepared statement.
“Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and
his Department of Justice.”
She went on to say, “the irony is that President Obama’s Administration has chosen to sue Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law and not sue local governments that
have adopted a patchwork of ‘sanctuary’ policies that directly violate
federal law. These patchwork local ‘sanctuary’ policies instruct the
police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials.”
In the suit, which names the state of Arizona as well as Brewer as defendants, the Justice Department claims the federal government has “preeminent authority” on immigration
enforcement and that the Arizona law “disrupts” that balance. It urges
the U.S. District Court in Arizona to “preliminarily and permanently”
prohibit the state from enforcing the law, which is scheduled to go
into effect at the end of the month.
“Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns,” Attorney
General Eric Holder said in a written statement. “But diverting federal
resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and
aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country’s safety.
Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national
responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of
state laws will only create more problems than it solves.”
The suit, which drew tough criticism from state lawmakers Tuesday, claimed the state law focuses only on getting rid of illegal immigrants and “ignores” other immigration objectives.
“The United States Constitution forbids Arizona from supplanting the federal government’s immigration regime with its own state-specific immigration policy,” the suit says. “A
policy that, in purpose and effect, interferes with the numerous
interests the federal government must balance.”
Click here to read the lawsuit.
Arizona lawmakers slammed the administration over the suit Tuesday.
“This is the wrong direction to go,” Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., said in a statement, calling on the administration to devote its resources to border security.
Twenty House Republicans wrote a letter to Holder in protest of the decision. Republican Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl released a joint statement calling the suit “premature.”
“The Obama administration has not done everything it can do to protect the people of Arizona from the violence and crime illegal immigration brings to our state. Until it does, the
federal government should not be suing Arizona on the grounds that
immigration enforcement is solely a federal responsibility,” the
The court action comes just days after President Obama delivered a speech calling on Congress to tackle a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. In the
speech, he criticized Arizona’s law and warned that national
legislation is needed to prevent other states from following suit.
The president did not mention the lawsuit, but one had been widely expected for weeks. After the administration initially said it would take the law under review, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton revealed last month in an interview with a foreign
television network that the administration intended to challenge the
The Arizona law, passed in April, makes illegal immigration a state crime and requires local law enforcement to question anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant on their
Several civil rights and law enforcement officials lauded the administration’s actions Tuesday.
Lucas Guttentag, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project, called it a “critical step” to undo Arizona’s “unconstitutional usurpation of federal
authority and its invitation to racial profiling.”
“The administration’s lawsuit is a cannon shot across the bow of other states that may be tempted to follow Arizona’s misguided approach,” he said. The ACLU had already filed a
legal challenge, which Guttentag said it would continue to pursue.
The Arizona law touched off an intense national debate over immigration. The results of any court challenge would have wide-ranging implications, as a number of other states and
jurisdictions have taken up tough immigration policies similar to
The Obama administration has meanwhile tried to use the law as the impetus to prod Congress into tackling an immigration bill. While Arizona lawmakers defend their law as necessary
to patrol the border, Obama described it last week as “unenforceable”
and a vehicle for civil rights abuse. He said a “national standard” is
needed and that he won’t “kick the can down the road” any longer.
Republicans bristled at the speech, though, and continued to urge the administration to better secure the border before tackling a comprehensive bill — which would likely include a
pathway to legal status for millions of illegal immigrants.
Please Assist Arizona with the Lawsuit fees:
Brewer told Fox News in June that Arizona would not back down from its law.
“We’ll meet them in court … and we will win,” she said, calling the administration’s actions a “disappointment.”
Let us all hope and pray that he get’s a face full of Crow. This is an embarrassment to the State of Arizona and infringing upon their freedoms to enforce the laws already on the books. The interpretation eventually, in my opinion will be left up to the Supreme Court.