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DOJ files lawsuit against Arizona, challenging SB 1070

MCT
SB1070: The U.S Department of Justice filed an injunction against Arizona on Tuesday, challenging the state's new immigration law.
MCT SB1070: The U.S Department of Justice filed an injunction against Arizona on Tuesday, challenging the state's new immigration law.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an injunction against Arizona on Tuesday regarding the recently signed immigration bill and will take the issue to federal court.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court, says that states are not allowed to establish immigration policies that interfere with federal law, and that Senate Bill 1070 only pursues the goal of “attrition” while ignoring the other objectives U.S. Congress has established.

The requested preliminary injunction seeks to stop the law from going into effect on July 29.

“The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country,” the complaint states.

While many opponents question SB 1070’s constitutionality pertaining to civil rights, the Justice Department filed the lawsuit based on the enforcement of the bill conflicting with federal matters.

“Obviously ... civil rights won’t be directly impacted by [SB] 1070,” said Evelyn Cruz, a clinical law professor for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “However, their ability to control the immigration rules regarding individuals who are here undocumented will be.”

Senate Bill 1070, a law that criminalizes the presence of undocumented migrants in Arizona, was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer on April 23.

Cruz said the issue has become one of foreign diplomacy.

“Their relationship with other countries, vis-à-vis what they perceive as the role of the federal government in managing immigrants in the United States, will also be affected,” Cruz said. “So, for them, the injunction is to protect their rights and their ability to control federal immigration law.”

Cruz said that individuals in the U.S., whether legally or illegally, have a right to expect consistency in their treatment across the country and not to be treated differently in Arizona.

“A person who appears to be an ‘immigrant’ would be asked of their status, and that would not normally happen in another state,” Cruz said.

In a statement issued by her office, Brewer expressed disappointment in the Justice Department’s request.

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

Brewer added that the new law is “both reasonable and constitutional.”

“It mirrors substantially what has been federal law in the United States for many decades,” the statement said. “Arizona’s law is designed to complement, not supplant, enforcement of federal immigration laws.”

ASU College Republicans President Tyler Bowyer said he does not agree with the Justice Department’s decision to file the injunction.

“I personally don’t believe that it conflicts whatsoever with the [U.S.] Constitution,” Bowyer said. “Any type of law enforcement should not be in the federal government’s hands. Each state has a right to enforce the law, and by the federal government trying to come in and say that a state doesn’t have the right to enforce a law ... in my opinion, actually has less constitutionality than the idea that Arizona is affecting foreign diplomacy.”

The hearing for the injunction has been set for July 22 at 10 a.m. at the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix. United States District Judge Susan Bolton will hear the arguments from both sides and decide whether to grant the injunction and prevent the immigration bill from being enforced.

Reach the reporter at joseph.schmidt@asu.edu


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