July 6th, 2010
06:19 PM ET
8 years ago

GOP leaders speak out on immigration lawsuit

Washington (CNN) – Republican leaders reacted swiftly Tuesday to a Justice Department decision to file a lawsuit challenging a tough new Arizona immigration law.

Justice Department lawyers argued that the state statute that requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times, and allows police to question the residency status of people in the course of enforcing another law, should be declared invalid because it has improperly preempted federal law.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ripped the Obama administration, saying in a statement that the federal government has "utterly failed" and that today's lawsuit "will not help secure our borders."

"Suing the people of Arizona for attempting to do a job the federal government has utterly failed to execute will not help secure our borders. If the President wants to make real progress on this issue, he can do so by taking amnesty off the table and focus his efforts on border and interior security," McConnell said.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele issued a statement of his own Tuesday afternoon accusing the White House of playing politics with the issue of border security.

"The state of Arizona has the right and the responsibility to provide security and stability for its citizens when the federal government fails to do so," Steele said. "Not only will a lawsuit not solve the problem, it is just another instance of hollow, political gamesmanship from a White House unwilling to take the bold action necessary to solve one of the country's most pressing issues."

Arizona's Republican Senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl also blasted the decision to file the lawsuit.

"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," Sens. Kyl and McCain said in a statement.

The two Arizona Senators were joined in their dissent by Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, who issued a statement on behalf of the Republican Study Committee, a group that counts more than 115 House Republicans as members.

"The Justice Department's complaint that Arizona has somehow preempted federal law is nothing short of ridiculous," Price said. "Arizona has simply reinforced longstanding federal laws, whose enforcement the Obama administration is now actively seeking to prevent. This will do nothing to stop illegal immigration in America and only add to the political divide over this issue."

Filed under: GOP • Immigration • issues
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Bob Ramos

    McConnell's rantings are proof that the GOP is the natural enemy of Hispanics.

    July 6, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    Translation: "We are going to obstruct anything and everything Obama and the Dems try to do on this issue because we're 100% aware that we'ev done a horrible job hiding our xenophobia and racism and have therefore alienated 95%+/- of the latino vote (other than angry disaffected Cubans who hate Castro) in this country....both those that exist and those that would eventually exist under a system granting people a clear pathway to citizenship. We would much rather have this continune to be a problem so we can blame Obama and the Dems....besides, we've read the studies showing that us white folks aren't going to be the majority much longer, so we'd like to make that last as long as possible."

    July 6, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Not only will a lawsuit not solve the problem, it is just another instance of hollow, political gamesmanship from a White House unwilling to take the bold action necessary to solve one of the country's most pressing issues."

    ORLY? Obama hassn't been screaming for comprehensive immigration reform legislation the past few months and he wasn't told by the GOP that "now isn't the right time because we're still trying to milk this all as though it's your fault"?

    July 6, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Marcus

    "Suing the people of Arizona for attempting to do a job the federal government has utterly failed to execute will not help secure our borders.' – I agree with that, the problem is that as I have not the legal right to take Justice in my own hands, NEITHER does the State of Arizona to appropriate for itself some legal matters that are EXCLUSIVE of the FEDERAL government, among many other flaws of that law –
    'If the President wants to make real progress on this issue, he can do so by taking amnesty off the table and focus his efforts on border and interior security," McConnell said.
    There, good old quid-pro-quo ('thit for that') or just plain blackmail?

    July 6, 2010 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    I guarantee you this is McCain's "revenge" for 2008. Guaranteed. If he didn't have something to do with AZ enacting this nonsense, then I'm a transfalmadorian.

    July 6, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. JonDIe

    The Republican plan to have each state take over immigration law is a recipe anarchy. But that's what the Tea Party is all about.

    July 6, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. paul

    This fool is a part of the federal govt., and has been for years. When did the republicans pass immigration reform? Oh yea, they didn't. And they'll block every attempt by the democrats to enact legislation. That way, the republicans can say the democrats didn't pass reform.

    The republicans have a vested interest in making sure that nothing happens in washington, so that the blame can fall on the dems. And the democrats will just roll over and try to play nice.

    July 6, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Phil

    God Bless America and Arizona!!!! I'm moving there when I retire!

    July 6, 2010 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Nathan

    The feds don't want to secure the boarder; any more than they wanted to secure the boarder when amnesty was granted the first time.

    July 6, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Patsy, Texas

    When are these Republicans going to quit complaining and whining,
    and start earning their paycheck? Mitch McConnell, Boehner,
    Cantor, etc are the worst I've seen in a long time. Where were they
    during their six years of control? Oh yea, they were fighting
    Bush over immigration reform.
    This bunch of useless, incompetent, slaggards do make me sick.
    Exactly what have these people done for America lately?

    July 6, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. dan

    The Gop just lost the Hispanic vote for a entire generation,theres no way they can win back the Whitehouse only getting 25% of the Hispanic vote if that much,the media is trying to down play this because they dont want the Hispanic cummunity to know the fed govt is filing a law suit..

    July 6, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Hammerer

    And not to mention that the cost to the taxpayers for the illegal immigrants to stay in America is 113 billion dollars per year.
    And the talking heads say that deporting them would hurt the economy. They also say that the cost to deport them would be to high. Probably could fly them back first class for $113 billion.

    July 6, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. Dave

    The (in)justice department is in the business of suing CIS agents for protecting the US, suing Arizona people for attempting to protect the boarder, they will probably sue allies and friends like Israel outside the USA. The making of the current DoJ is of USA haters and people who are suffering inferiority feelings and are willing to destroy this nation!

    July 6, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. AFRI531

    The new law is an ethnic cleansing approach to reform. How many law enforcement personnel does the new law put at the border to secure it?

    July 6, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. DOG1

    Oh yeah Mitch, border enforcement was ever so much better under Bush wasn't it. The republicans talk a good game about closing the border but they never do it either. They're plan is very simple, keep as many illegal aliens "illegal" as possible. That way their buddies in industry and corporations have a ready supply of people that will work for slave wages and always be afraid to complain about how they're treated. What perplexes me is why the Mexican President also wants to make sure his people remain illegals here suffering that kind of treatment,..............wait, he's a politician, he gets huge pesos from industry too, now I understand.

    July 6, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. b. o. stinks

    if the fed does its own job then this would not be needed but berry boi hasnt the nads to stop it afraid of offending another country unemployment at above 9 per cent and this idiot says illegals are coming here to find work what bs he needs to worry about AMERICANS finding work and the ILLEGALS vote this elitist ego maniac out of office

    July 6, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. hobart

    More hypocrisy from the Party of No.

    The Arizona law is unconstitutional on 2 grounds: separation of powers, and racial profiling. But Republicans are all for states' rights when it comes to racial profiling, or threatening cession, but are dead set against states' rights when it comes to counting ballots in an election they might lose, or when it comes to allowing same sex marriage.

    But don't be surprised if the Roberts' Court agrees with this loathsome law. Gov. Brewer's solemn declaration that most illegals are drug mules is proof positive of the racist agenda behind this misguided law.

    Hey all you ultra liberals and greens who voted for Nader, and who did turn on Clinton and will turn on Obama because they're not liberal enough, a Supreme Court full of fascists who will judicially actively redefine our laws for the next 50 years is the price we all pay for your "sticking to your principles."

    July 6, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  18. Roy

    So if I understand this, the Arizona Law preempted federal law is the bases of the new DOJ Lawsuit. Does this mean that County Sheriffs that arrest alleged Meth Lab suspects preempts DEA of Federal Control Substances?

    July 6, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Dave

    Instead of protecting the boarder and the right of its citizens to lawful lives, the Federal government probably wants the state of Arizona to have a mission like NASA and start an outreach program to Muslim countries. This will be a worth while task for a state according to the current thinking in the administration (and not the protection and well being of its citizens, oh no!). What a travesty of duties this administration is?!

    July 6, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. dan smith

    The Arizona law is worded the same as the Federal law so Odumbo doesn't have a legal leg to stand on and will only end up with egg on his face once again. Community organizer does not a President make.

    July 6, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. shane

    I personally think that what Arizona is doing is great. Atleast one of the states has the guts to standup and doing what the Gov. should be doing. I can not wait for the day that I can personally call a Gov. office and not have to press anything for english this is America so if you think you should be able to use what we offer they should have rules.

    1. Be a American by atleast 3 gens. or have all the right paperwork


    This is my personal opinion if you are not American GO HOME my taxes should not be feeding people who are here unlawfully .

    July 6, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. SGT. Bob

    Isn't it interesting that this was never really a hot topic for Bush? Why not? Why is it so urgent now that Obama's got his hands full of other crap....like the economy? Are illegals seriously taking jobs away from Americans? Didn't I see a posting from a farmer offering any unemployed American to go work for him under current conditions? What, no takers? Besides, if illegals are taking aways jobs, who is really to blame? Shouldn't it be those hiring them? I'm so sick of all the "urgent" issues that are rearing their ugly heads but existed under Bush but didn't seem so urgent to the GOP then. GOP, all you want is to find all the ways you can to create a false climate of failure by this Administration. Keep digging, and when that holes gets big enough, jump in so we can bury all of you! Pathetic. And Cafferty, we'll quite blaming Bush when there's been ample time to clean up his mess and that's not quite yet; it'll take years and you all know that.

    July 6, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. The Law Is The Law

    This is the law,The stupid, moronic, liberal idiots who hold high offices(but are not qualified in anyway} can't seem to grasp that fact.It's about time more states stood up against this invasion, and thats what it is, hispanic politicians in ca. have stated they will take that state back without firing a shot, and looks like they are succeding.If you want to be a citizen, learn english first, then apply legally and pay taxes.

    July 6, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. anotherGDlefty

    It's very interesting that these blowhards keep saying the federal government failed, etc.

    They are the GD federal government. THEY failed, repeatedly.

    They continue to fail.

    McCain & Kyl are the most twisted of the bunch.

    I'm in AZ so I know exactly what the "Johns" have done for immigration here. NOTHING.

    July 6, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. glenda

    Bush had 8 years to do something about the immigration problems....do you think this immigration stituation just started when Obama took Office? Bush did nothing and did we hear anything from all you Republicans then? NO NOTHING and now you are saying Obama is FAILING.......what he is trying to do is make it FAIR for all people in this country......no one should have to walk around with their Birth Certificates in their pockets......this is a free country that can go from state to state freely, but if the Republicans get their way we will have to stop at each state and show citizenship papers......that sounds more like the Communist countries where all states have their borders and to cross over you have to show papers......NO WAY....come on GOP you are the ones trying to take away our Constitutional Rights all the while claiming to be such great defenders of the Constitution.......you are the ones that are going to get replaced come November......

    July 6, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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