Arizona governor countersues US government over immigration law

[JURIST] Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] announced Thursday that she and state Attorney General Tom Horne [official profile] had filed a counterclaim [summary, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] against the US government in the lawsuit challenging the controversial Arizona immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive]. The counterclaim contains five counts accusing the federal government of violating the Secure Fence Act of 2006 [text, PDF] by losing control of the border with Mexico, violating Article 4 [text] of the US Constitution by failing to protect Arizona from an "invasion" of illegal immigrants, failing to enforce federal immigration law 8 USC §1373 [text] requiring the government to respond to state inquiries about individuals' immigration status, refusing to reimburse the state costs of battling illegal immigration under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program [text, PDF] and violating the Tenth Amendment [text] of the Constitution by infringing on state rights. Brewer said that the state has been collecting private donations [Arizona Republic report] to help fund the lawsuit.

In October, a federal judge denied [JURIST report] motions to dismiss a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the immigration law. The class action joined two other lawsuits filed [JURIST report] earlier last year that also challenged the law. The US Department of Justice [official website] in July filed suit [JURIST report] against Brewer seeking to permanently enjoin the state's immigration law. The complaint states that the law is preempted by federal law and therefore violates the Supremacy Clause [text] of the US Constitution. The Arizona law criminalizes illegal immigration and requires police officers to question an individual's immigration status if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" to believe an individual is in the country illegally. It has been widely criticized in regard to the law's constitutionality and alleged "legalization" of racial profiling.

 

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