U.S. President Barack Obama
Beyond Borders

Feds Sue Arizona Over Immigration Law

July 7, 2010 By Alison Bowen
U.S President Barack Obama

U.S President Barack Obama

The federal government moved Tuesday to sue the state of Arizona over its recent law.

President Barack Obama’s administration filed a lawsuit arguing that the state doesn’t have the right to enforce immigration law. The state law will require police to investigate the immigration status of those they suspect of being criminal immigrants.

The administration has said that Arizona law is unconstitutional – immigration laws are under the federal umbrella – and would burden law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Arizaona Governor Jan Brewer again argued that her law is “reasonable and constitutional” in a statement on her Web site.

“Today’s filing is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds,” she said. “These funds could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona.”

She added that she was pleased racial profiling was not included in the lawsuit. Many criticizing the law have argued that it will lead police officers to target people who look like illegal immigrants.

The Obama administration maintained that taking immigration law into her own state’s hands was not the correct answer.

“Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement, according to Politico.

The Justice Department also requested that the law not take effect as scheduled July 29.

Some Republicans criticized the move.

“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,” Arizona’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, said in a statement, according to Reuters.

The Arizona state legislator who penned the legislation told Reuters, “Shame on them. This is malfeasance and they are in violation of their oaths of office.”

In a speech last week, the president maintained that immigration reform is a high priority, despite high tensions on both sides within the country.

“In sum, the system is broken. And everybody knows it,” Obama said.

He said that more troops are at the southwest border than any time in U.S. history, making it ‘more secure today than at an time in the past 20 years.”

Image: transplanted mountaineer @ Flickr.

About Alison Bowen

Alison is a Missouri native and New York City freelance writer who has wanted to cover Latin America since studying Spanish in Central America. After moving to Brooklyn, her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Daily News, the Manhattan Times and Women’s eNews. She earned a master’s degree in journalism and Latin American and Caribbean studies at New York University. Her thesis focused on immigration policies after September 11, including counterterrorism measures, and their effects on the daily lives of immigrants in New York City.

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[…] HB 497 in March, with the goal of cracking down on illegal immigration. It has been compared to Arizona’s SB 1070 because it requires people who are arrested for serious crimes — defined as all felonies and […]

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