over its tough new immigration law, charging the state with crossing a
“constitutional line” that would undermine the federal government’s
efforts to monitor illegal aliens.
In its lawsuit, filed in
immigration policy … exceeds a state’s role with respect to aliens,
interferes with the federal government’s balanced administration of the
immigration laws, and critically undermines U.S. foreign policy
objectives,” the department said.
which seeks “attrition through enforcement,” establishes a mandatory
system that requires law enforcement officers to verify any given
person’s legal status if the officer is suspicious of “unlawful
The department asked for a preliminary injunction
against the policy to prevent “irreparable harm” to the U.S. The law
was signed by Republican Gov.
“As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement,
Last week, in his first major speech on the issue, Obama urged
said in its lawsuit, would disrupt the national framework and
potentially lead other states down a slippery slope of patchwork
policies that would “cripple” federal policy.
The law is unconstitutional, the department wrote,
primarily because “it impermissibly attempts to set immigration policy
at the state level and is therefore pre-empted.”
Although the law rightfully seeks to deter “unlawful
entry” of illegal aliens, the lawsuit asserts, it ignores all other
aspects of federal policy.
The department noted that
law could potentially result in the “harassment and incarceration” of
legal aliens and even U.S. citizens who are stopped by police officers
and who lack immediate documentation as proof of legal presence.
The use of extensive resources to target all
potential illegal aliens, instead of focusing attention on major
threats, conflicts with U.S. policy, the department argued.
“Arizonans are understandably frustrated with
illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to
comprehensively address those concerns,” said U.S. Attorney General
dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal
records will impact the entire country’s safety.”
(c) 2010, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.