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No state give on Obama illegal immigration suit; Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer fires back defiantly

July 6, 2010 |  5:16 pm

Border_fence

No back down tonight from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who pushed back at the Obama Justice Department's decision to sue the southwestern state over its new illegal immigrant law set to take effect in 23 days.

"Today's filing," Brewer said in a formal statement (full text below), "is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds. These funds could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona."

The Obama lawsuit opposes Arizona state law S.B. 1070, which is also opposed by the ACLU and government of Mexico, 

As the Associated Press reported:

Arizona passed the law after years of frustration over problems associated with illegal immigration, including drug trafficking, kidnappings and murders. The state is the biggest gateway into the U.S. for illegal immigrants, and is home to an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants.

The law requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if there's a reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. The law also makes it a state crime for legal immigrants to not carry their immigration documents and bans day laborers and people who seek their services from blocking traffic on streets.
Brewer's statement added:

The irony is that President Obama’s Administration has chosen to sue Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law and not sue local governments that have adopted a patchwork of ‘sanctuary’ policies that directly violate federal law. These patchwork local ‘sanctuary’ policies instruct the police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials. 

Polls have shown widespread national and Arizona approval for the concept of legal immigration, for enforcing existing illegal immigrant laws and for Arizona's measure to step into the federal gap. The lawsuit,....

...certain to drag on through the midterm elections Nov. 2, could help Democrat Obama shore up his standing among would-be Hispanic supporters expressing increasing impatience with his placing so many other issues like healthcare and financial regulations ahead of the long-promised comprehensive immigration reforms the touted so often during the 2007-08 campaigns.

Although his Democratic party currently has large majorities in both houses of Congress and could call up immigration laws at any time, Obama says he senses no "appetite" for comprehensive reforms there and has refused to address separately the nagging border security issues on the scale demanded by states. 

In an uphill election year for Democrats facing high unemployment, a sluggish economic recovery, unhappiness with the landmark healthcare bill and mounting fears over government spending and deficits, even Arizona's three Democrats in Congress asked Obama not to file the suit, to no avail.

On the other hand, within Arizona Brewer's signing of the new law and ardent advocacy of it has vaulted her from a three-way tie in the Republican gubernatorial primary to a dominant lead heading into next month's vote. Last week a poll of Likely Voters in November found 53% favor Brewer, while only 35% like her likely Democrat opponent, Terry Goddard.

Legal experts noted the Arizona law was already being challenged by the ACLU with Mexico's support. So, the additional Obama suit is legally unnecessary but looks good politically for the president's supporters.

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So what does the new Arizona law actually do?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Statement by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

PHOENIX – “Today I was notified that the federal government has filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona.  It is wrong that our own federal government is suing the people of Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law.  As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels.  Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice.  Today's filing is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds.  These funds could be better used against the violent Mexican cartels than the people of Arizona.

“The truth is the Arizona law is both reasonable and constitutional.  It mirrors substantially what has been federal law in the United States for many decades.  Arizona’s law is designed to complement, not supplant, enforcement of federal immigration laws.  Despite the Department of Justice’s claims in paragraph 62 of today’s lawsuit, Arizona is not trying ‘to establish its own immigration policy’ or ‘directly regulate the immigration status of aliens.’  Arizona Revised Statutes § 11-1051(E) states that the federal government, along with local law enforcement officers authorized by the federal government, can only determine an alien’s immigration status.   Subsection (L) of that same section goes on to state that the law ‘shall be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration.’

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer

“The irony is that President Obama’s Administration has chosen to sue Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law and not sue local governments that have adopted a patchwork of ‘sanctuary’ policies that directly violate federal law. These patchwork local ‘sanctuary’ policies instruct the police not to cooperate with federal immigration officials. 

“The best thing government can do is to create a stable, predictable environment, governed by an easily understood set of rules or laws. We do not need to make this more complicated than it already is.  We must first and foremost create a secure border. Enhanced trade, economic opportunity and freedom will surely follow.

“I am pleased that President Obama and the Department of Justice did not pursue the baseless claims of illegal racial profiling in the lawsuit.   When signing S.B. 1070, I said, ‘My signature today represents my steadfast support for enforcing the law — both against illegal immigration AND against racial profiling.’ Arizona’s law expressly prohibits unconstitutional racial profiling.  However, words are not enough.  For this reason, I ordered the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) to develop training on the new law for Arizona’s police officers.   AZPOST has completed the training course and has published it for the all world to see at www.azpost.state.az.us/SB1070infocenter.htm.  AZPOST has done its job professionally and served Arizona well.

“I will not stop fighting to protect the citizens of Arizona, and to defend Arizonans in federal court.  I have set up a legal defense fund to pay the substantial legal fees that Arizona has been, and will be, forced to incur as a result of all of these lawsuits.  Contributions to the Border Security and Immigration Defense Fund can be made at www.keepazsafe.com.  My legal team will not hesitate to assert the rights of the State of Arizona in this matter.  Arizona will ultimately prevail against the lawsuits – including this latest assault by the Obama Administration. Our laws will be found to be constitutional – because that is exactly what they are.”    ####

Photo: Associated Press; Fox News Channel.

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