Feds to file lawsuit over Arizona immigration law

Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Feds to file lawsuit over Arizona immigration law
By BOB CHRISTIE

The U.S. Justice Department is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigrants, setting the stage for a clash between the federal government and state over the nation's toughest immigration crackdown.

The planned lawsuit was confirmed to The Associated Press by a Justice Department official with knowledge of the plans. The official didn't want to be identified before a public announcement planned for later Tuesday by Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor.

The lawsuit will argue that Arizona's law requiring state and local police to question and possibly arrest illegal immigrants during the enforcement of other laws such as traffic stops usurps federal authority.

The government will likely seek an injunction to delay the July 29 implementation of the law until the case is resolved.

The government contends that the Arizona law violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution, a legal theory that says federal laws override state laws. It is already illegal under federal law to be in the country illegally, although the punishment and enforcement tactics of the Arizona are much more severe.

Tuesday's action has been expected for weeks. President Barack Obama has called the state law misguided. Supporters say it is a reasonable reaction to federal inaction on immigration.

Prior to seeing the lawsuit or receiving any official notification, Gov. Jan Brewer's spokesman called the reported decision to sue "a terribly bad decision."

"Arizona obviously has a terrible border security crisis that needs to be addressed, so Gov. Brewer has repeatedly said she would have preferred the resources and attention of the federal government would be focused on that crisis rather than this," spokesman Paul Senseman said.

Three of the five Democrats in Arizona's congressional delegation, who are facing tough re-election battles, had also urged Obama not to try to block the law from going into effect.

"This lawsuit is a sideshow, distracting us from the real task at hand," Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick said in a statement Tuesday. "A court battle between the federal government and Arizona will not move us closer to securing the border or fixing America's broken immigration system."

The law requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if there's a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally.

Arizona passed the law after years of frustration over problems associated with illegal immigration, including drug trafficking and violent kidnappings. The state is the biggest gateway into the U.S. for illegal immigrants, and is home to an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants.

Obama addressed the Arizona law in a speech on immigration reform last week. He touched on one of the major concerns of federal officials, that other states were poised to follow Arizona by crafting their own immigration enforcement laws.

"As other states and localities go their own ways, we face the prospect that different rules for immigration will apply in different parts of the country," Obama said. "A patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed."

The law makes it a state crime for legal immigrants to not carry their immigration documents and bans day laborers and people who seek their services from blocking traffic on streets.

The law also prohibits government agencies from having policies that restrict the enforcement of federal immigration law and lets Arizonans file lawsuits against agencies that hinder immigration enforcement.

Arizona State University constitutional law professor Paul Bender said the federal government's involvement throws a lot of weight behind the argument that federal law pre-empts Arizona's measure.

"It's important to have the federal government's view of whether state law is inconsistent with federal law, and they're the best people to say that," Bender said.

Kris Kobach, the University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor who helped draft the Arizona law, said he's not surprised by the Justice Department's challenge but called it "unprecedented and unnecessary."

He noted that the law already is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups opposed to the new statute.

"The issue was already teed up in the courts. There's no reason for the Justice Department to get involved. The Justice Department doesn't add anything by bringing their own lawsuit," Kobach said in an interview.

Well, there goes any Democrats hope of getting elected in Arizona this year.

Of course if the Federal government had gotten off it's rear and actually did their job in the first place Arizona would have never needed to pass this law. :shrug:

Ah,

The first responder in what will be an unending thread and which is bound to turn into a flamer.
So, stupid question... Given the reason for the filing being pre-emption (i.e. its the Feds responsibility) does this mean , all things being equal, the same suit should be brought against sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, LA, San Diego etc? for refusing to comply with federal law ?

What I found to be a knee-slapping irony is the claim of the Federal government that a State was encrouching on their territory, after two hundred years of running roughshod over state's rights.

[quote="pnewton, post:3, topic:204456"]
What I found to be a knee-slapping irony is the claim of the Federal government that a State was encrouching on their territory, after two hundred years of running roughshod over state's rights.

[/quote]

Dh told me that if Arizona loses this lawsuit they need to turn around and sue the Federal government for not doing their job. Breach of contract or whatever the proper legal term would be.

I sure could be wrong about this, but the federal response to the Az law seems awfully "tone deaf" to me. State governments are a lot closer to the people than is the federal government. Still, lots of people have grown accustomed, over the years, to the notion that states and state governments are almost irrelevant as authorities go, because of the tendency, over the years, for everything major being handled at the federal level. States were increasingly viewed as something like stepchildren of the feds.

But then, when the federal government attacks a state, particularly when the federal government itself flagrantly ignores law enforcement with which it is charged, it conjures up a vision this country has not really seen since the Civil War. The remote and bloated federal government bullying a political subdivision to which we are all much more proximate in reality; particularly a subdivision that actually acted to protect its people, and most particularly when most people support what Az has done.

It seems to me this is a very bad message for the central government to be sending out. The administration can't be unaware how alienating this is. But I guess it just doesn't care. Imposing its will seems to be the paramount thing, and makes one wonder what else it is willing to do in order to impose its will.

I'm not saying this (or the treatment of the Gulf states, which has been similarly arrogant) is going to cause a Civil War. I'm sure it won't. But any government ought to be wary about alienating its citizens, and the more it does it, the less likely people are to believe in its benevolence and representative nature in other respects.

Hey Ridgerunner ,

interesting thoughts,
Im a resident alien in Ca, and I kind of feel double whammied and am very aware of both federal and state.
The modern day bible reference of serving two masters,
It does feel however as if both are trying to get as much into your life as they possibly can,

I would imagine that at some point some people would think that it gets to a point where, one is bad and the other is worse.
What that point is , I dont know , but today (at least to me) is definately a case of the fearing the government (tyranny) as opposed to the government fearing me (liberty).
Given I didnt go through the school system , I dont know who said that, but I think its not far off the mark.

Cheers

Lets see...the feds bring suit against the AZ law because they think its racist. The feds drop a lawsuit against black panthers intimidating white voters because its the wrong kind of racism. I can't wait until Nov 2012.

The Attorney’s on both sides will undoubtedly make a small killing in fee’s this time around.

Get this...Holder says the law is unconstitutional and hampers the ability of the Fed to enforce immigration laws. These people are on dope.

news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100706/pl_afp/usimmigrationpoliticsarizona_20100706202001

[quote="jonobr, post:6, topic:204456"]
Hey Ridgerunner ,

interesting thoughts,
Im a resident alien in Ca, and I kind of feel double whammied and am very aware of both federal and state.
The modern day bible reference of serving two masters,
It does feel however as if both are trying to get as much into your life as they possibly can,

I would imagine that at some point some people would think that it gets to a point where, one is bad and the other is worse.
What that point is , I dont know , but today (at least to me) is definately a case of the fearing the government (tyranny) as opposed to the government fearing me (liberty).
Given I didnt go through the school system , I dont know who said that, but I think its not far off the mark.

Cheers

[/quote]

You're to be credited for doing it the right way. You have a good point in saying different states have different approaches. My state is "low interference" in peoples' lives, and I'm grateful for that. My own experience is somewhat limited, but one of the things I do is act as an "outsource" for banks and mortgage companies in setting up and closing loans for them.

I have had occasion twice to work with California real estate transactions that were ancillary to my own functioning. It's terrible to work with, because the state government in California is in the deal from beginning to end. Very regulated. In my state, it's "hands off". Buy a piece of real estate and get a loan on it, it's all private business and the state doesn't even know about it. Subdivide it, build a house, develop it, whatever. You can do whatever you have the ability to do. In a city or town here, you will probably be subject to zoning ordinances and building codes, but otherwise, you can do whatever you want to do.

[quote="jonobr, post:2, topic:204456"]
Ah,

The first responder in what will be an unending thread and which is bound to turn into a flamer.
So, stupid question... Given the reason for the filing being pre-emption (i.e. its the Feds responsibility) does this mean , all things being equal, the same suit should be brought against sanctuary cities such as San Francisco, LA, San Diego etc? for refusing to comply with federal law ?

[/quote]

In short, when you challenge the authority and scope of the fed you have the probability of being sued. Should other CA cities be sued? Maybe. At the very least they can be. Don't you love our sue happy infrastructure :)

Enforcement at heart of Ariz. immigration lawsuit
By BOB CHRISTIE (AP) – 30 minutes ago

PHOENIX — On paper, Arizona’s controversial new immigration law is not that different from the federal version. But the key difference is this: Arizona wants every illegal immigrant caught and deported. The federal government says treating all 11 million of the nation’s illegal immigrants as criminals would overwhelm the system.

In its lawsuit challenging the Arizona law, the Justice Department says its policy is to focus on dangerous immigrants: gang members, drug traffickers, threats to national security. Law-abiding immigrants without documentation would largely be left alone.

google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jup3stJNgod5yvfvOU1IInU0erAwD9GQFP900

My question…“What is a law-abiding” immigrant who has broken the law and entered the country illegally?" I can’t even get back home from Canada without a passport.

[quote="markbrumbaugh, post:12, topic:204456"]
My question..."What is a law-abiding" immigrant who has broken the law and entered the country illegally?" I can't even get back home from Canada without a passport.

[/quote]

Really, only children who were brought here by their parents and effectively cut off from their nation of origin while growing up would probably qualify.

  • Marty Lund

[quote="shockerfan, post:7, topic:204456"]
Lets see...the feds bring suit against the AZ law because they think its racist. The feds drop a lawsuit against black panthers intimidating white voters because its the wrong kind of racism. I can't wait until Nov 2012.

[/quote]

Don't wait that long! Think Nov 2010!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.