The Obama administration has filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona over its contentious attempts to stop illegal immigration.
A lawsuit filed in Phoenix federal court by the Obama administration, arguing that Arizona’s newly approved law allowing state and local police to question anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the US illegally undermines federal government authority.
The federal government wants the law declared invalid and is seeking an injunction to delay enactment of the law which is set for July 29, according to The Guardian.
"In our constitutional system, the federal government has pre-eminent authority to regulate immigration matters," the lawsuit states. "This authority derives from the United States constitution and numerous acts of Congress. The nation's immigration laws reflect a careful and considered balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and humanitarian interests."
As expected, Republicans have chastised the lawsuit, saying it is premature because the state law is not yet in force. They also defend the Arizona law by claiming the federal government has failed in its attempts to control illegal immigration.
“It is far too premature for the Obama Administration to challenge the legality of this new law since it has not yet been enforced. Most legal experts believe such a ‘facial challenge’ to the statute would be very difficult to win,” Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, said in a joint statement released on Tuesday.
"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," they added in their statement.
Arizona is the biggest entry point along the US-Mexico border for immigrants crossing into the US. The state is also estimated to have an illegal immigrant population of 460,000.
The state passed the controversial law after years of unsuccessfully dealing with illegal immigrants and the problems associated with the issue, such as kidnappings and drug trafficking.
Mexico, along with several civil liberties groups have publicly opposed the state law. There are other legal battles pending in the state’s federal court system.
The administration fears a hodgepodge group of differing laws passed by various state and local authorities and has acted accordingly with the lawsuit.
News of the pending lawsuit was previously mentioned by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview in Quito, Ecuador on June 8, as reported by Digital Journal.