July 6th, 2010
06:19 PM ET
12 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. 69 year old vet

    The terminology is wrong! They are hardly immigrants they are invaders!

    July 6, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Follow the law

    Thanks feds for having the moral courage to sue Arizona.

    I don't care which side wins, I just want the rule of law to be followed.

    I've been reading some stuff about the French Revolution, and the dire consequences of letting politics be driven by mass hysteria. I understand Arizonans' frustrations, but the ends *never* justify the means.

    It strikes me that righties like to use immigrants as a convenient scapegoat instead of acknowledging their own & the country's shortcomings. I'm also appalled at the lack of compassion for immigrants, whose own country cares so little about their well-being. If fat-cat greedy corporations would follow existing law & stop hiring them, we wouldn't have any of these problems.

    July 6, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. Mike in Red State Kansas

    Why the Obama Administration would even get involved in this Arizona thing is beyond me. The should just sit back and watch the Labor Barons of Arizona fight it out with the law down there. Because if we think for one minute that the Labor Barons are going to find Arizonan Americans that will pick produce for $3.50 an hour or work construction jobs for $7.00 an hour or janitorial jobs for $5.00 an hour we are kidding ourselves.

    So when the Labor Barons have to start paying real wages down there, talk about the economy of Arizona getting even worse faster, whew! At that point they will start putting the pressure on the politicians. And who will those politicians side with, U and Me, Mary and John Q Public?

    Don't make me laugh.

    July 6, 2010 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    The politicians in AZ need those illegals to clean their houses, tend their yards and gardens, and build their apartments and corporate buildings for CHEAP, no benefits, wages.

    The state will blow away when illegals stop planting and watering the greenery.


    July 6, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. DB TX

    This administrator is out of touch with US citizen by siding with illegal alien.

    July 6, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  6. Georgia Girl

    Oh Pa-L-E-A-S-E. You peopla in the GOP obviously have never been racially profiled. If the Obama administration put up a 100 foot wall you would call it in-humane or your favorite word unpatriotic.

    July 6, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. Riley

    Once again, Obama and the dems are opposing the majority of americans. Guess they won't learn until they suffer a huge defeat in November.

    Obama is CLUELESS.

    July 6, 2010 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. key

    These are the same people that has allowed this Immigration situation to remain as it has for years now its the Obama administration are you serious.

    July 6, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |

    I think Mitch FORGETS that he and his boys were running things with W for quite a stretch back there. They ordered up a fence but didn't bother to pay for it (lest it interfere with cherished tax breaks).

    July 6, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |

    This is complete bull crap what OBAMA and his Democrats are trying to do. Legalizing these gangsters just for more votes at the expense of the people in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. All of us four state should and do it now withdraw from the union of the United States. Because these states are not united anymore. We are a ship of fools, led by fools and with the same fools lining their pockets of us. It is time for an uprising. .

    July 6, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  11. b@man

    if you find yourself agreeing with either party on every single issue, you've been brainwashed – this AZ thing is a no-brainer

    July 6, 2010 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. Charlie

    Article 1 Section 8 – " To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization"

    Doesn't say anything about enforcing the rule. Therefore, this is reserved for the states. And heck, don't the states enforce the federally mandated 65 MPH speed limit.

    July 6, 2010 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. liberal elite = anyone with an education

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ripped the Obama administration, saying in a statement that the federal government has "utterly failed" ...

    Would that be the Federal government of which you have been part, along with all of your fellow GOP blowhards Mitch?

    Let me get this straight the President, who has been in power for less than two years, is responsible for what you have all failed to do for DECADES?

    July 6, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  14. Joan

    What did the Republicans do to secure the border during their eight years? Why has it suddenly become so important now? Oh, right. New President. A few years ago Sen. McCain co-authored a comprehensive immigration reform bill which didn't pass and now he won't support an almost identical bill. Why? Oh, right. Different President. All of the lawmakers should stop playing politics and agree on a sensible comprehensive bill which is fair yet strict. All employers who hire illegal aliens should pay heavy fines. Illegals who break the law should be deported. Law abiding, hard working illegals should pay taxes, learn English and be put at the end of the line to become citizens. It seems pretty sensible, humane and possible if lawmakers quit worrying about the 2010 elections and all start working for the good of the country not themselves.

    July 6, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  15. DENNA

    The Republicans had 8 years and a 6 year majority to pass meaningful immigration reform. NOW they care. This law is borne of racism pure and simple. It's good, though, that it is easy to see how the Republican party feels about the Hispanic population. The word "illegal" is just a cover for their true feelings. Instead of complaining, why not cooperate with President Obama and rush through some meaningful legislation NOW!

    July 6, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. Ed FL

    The GOP should be happy that the feds will intervene that way the GOP big buisness owners can to keep the status quo and keep hiring lower wage earners to improve profits.

    July 6, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  17. Clint

    What, a stubborn California Democrat in complete agreement with the Republicans on a political issue??? I can't believe it ether but I am!!!

    July 6, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. sadlyperturbed

    The Right is always whining about something. This time it is the Arizona law, last time health care. Meanwhile they have offered nothing of substance on any issue as far as I can tell. I used to be a registered Republican but I left the party due to their constant bowing to the Religious Right, something which is expressly forbidden by our Constitution. Yet they continue as usual.

    The fact is the number of violent crimes, and crimes in general along the border has dropped since Obama has taken office. The number of illegals entering the country has dropped as well. These are numbers which the Right cannot dispute. So they lie instead. Very sad what has happened to one of the grand old parties.

    It is time for the Right to stop listening to a very vocal, very small minority in this country and do what is right. Ignore the way Right and think about Americans in general. But then Big Business would stop lining their pockets now, wouldn't they?

    July 6, 2010 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  19. Bill

    Why is it that Republicans insist upon a very strict interpretation of the
    Constitution -every word is sacred- and then want to ignore those
    clauses that they do not favor, Control of immigration is a FEDERAL
    responsibility-not a state function-otherwise you would have fifty different laws– also if McCain is such a proponent of immigration reform why doesn't he support his former position favoring an immigration reform bill?
    Could it be it is because he is challenged by a true nutcase for his seat
    and is trying to "" outnutcase"him.
    KYL is beyond analysis-the original Dr. NO.

    July 6, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  20. marcia

    if you are illegal...you don't belong here.
    Stay out, go away!

    July 6, 2010 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. jbinns

    I believe the law in arizona is unconstitutional and the state should other means of securing out borders. Also this measure we increase illegal immigrates who will go to other state

    July 6, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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