Obama to File Suit Against AZ Immigration Law

By Jason Beahm on June 21, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spilled the beans, and now Obama adminsitrion officials are confirming that a lawsuit will be filed against Arizona over it's new immigration law. Clinton alluded to a challenge of the law by Attorney General Eric Holder after she was asked about the law by an Ecuadorean TV station in an interview on June 8. "The Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act," Clinton said. Though Clinton may have made the statements prematurely, she was unapologetic about making the remarks when and where she did.

The move is politically risky, and Clinton's comments have already created a backlash in Arizona. "This is no way to treat the people of Arizona....To learn of this lawsuit through an Ecuadorean interview with the secretary of state is just outrageous. If our own government intends to sue our state to prevent illegal immigration enforcement, the least it can do is inform us before it informs the citizens of another nation," said Governor Jan Brewer to the New York Times. Republican Gov. Brewer says that SB 1070 is a legitimate, valid law and there is no need for a federal lawsuit to challenge it.

The new law, SB 1070, gives Arizona police the authority to check the legal status of people they stop and requires all legal immigrants to carry their papers. The law set off a firestorm of debate on all sides. An immigration boycott of Arizona was organized, followed by counter-boycotts. Polling data shows that the majority of the population of Arizona, as well as the United States, support the new law.

The New York Times reports that the lawsuit will likely turn on whether SB 1070 intrudes on federal immigration authority. University of Arizona law professor Jack Chin says that the federal government could argue that the law gives one state more regulatory power in immigration than another and raises thorny diplomatic problems abroad.

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