The US Justice Department is to sue the state of Arizona over its controversial new law targeting illegal immigrants weeks before it comes into effect.
By Our Foreign Staff
Published: 8:22PM BST 06 Jul 2010
The lawsuit will argue that the new law, which requires state and local police to question and possibly arrest illegal immigrants during the enforcement of other laws such as traffic stops, violates the Constitution and usurps federal authority.
The law, which President Barack Obama called “misguided”, requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to question a person’s immigration status if there is a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. It also makes it a state crime for legal immigrants to not carry their immigration documents.
The federal government will likely seek an injunction to delay the July 29 implementation of the law until the case is resolved.
Arizona’s senators John McCain and Jon Kyl criticised the planned lawsuit arguing that it was “far too premature” for the US government to sue the state over the law “since it has not yet been enforced.”
“The American people must wonder whether the Obama administration is really committed to securing the border when it sues a state that is simply trying to protect its people by enforcing immigration law,” the duo said in a joint statement.
Mr Obama addressed the law last week, warning on the possibility of other states following Arizona’s lead.
“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,” he said.
“A patchwork of local immigration rules where we all know one clear national standard is needed.”