July 6th, 2010
12:08 PM ET
13 years ago

Feds to challenge Arizona law

Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department is expected to file a legal challenge Tuesday against Arizona's controversial immigration law, according to an administration official.

The law, which is scheduled to take effect at the end of July, requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and allows police to ask residency status of people in the course of enforcing another law. It also targets businesses that hire illegal immigrant laborers or knowingly transport them.

President Barack Obama said in a speech on July 1 that the measure has "fanned the flames of an already contentious debate." Among other things, it puts pressure on police officers to enforce rules that are "unenforceable" while making communities less safe - in part, by making people more reluctant to report crimes, he said.

It also has "the potential of violating the rights of innocent American citizens and legal residents, making them subject to possible stops or questioning because of what they look like or how they sound."

Arizona's two senators, both Republicans, immediately called the reported Obama administration move "far too premature."

"Moreover, 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. Jon Kyl and John McCain said in a statement.

Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick called the threatened suit a "sideshow."

"A court battle between the federal government and Arizona will not move us closer to securing the border or fixing America's broken immigration system," she said in a statement.

Arizona's Republican governor, Jan Brewer, has accused the Obama administration of failing to secure the border with Mexico, thereby forcing her state to act on its own.

"Do your job. Secure the border," Brewer said of the president in a July 1 speech to a Republican group. She pledged to "defend this law against every assault, including attacks by the Obama administration."

Obama renewed his push for comprehensive immigration reform last week, calling for bipartisan cooperation on an issue reflecting deep social and political divisions.

Seeking an elusive middle ground on the subject, the president highlighted the importance of immigrants to American history and progress while acknowledging the fear and frustration many feel with a system that he said seems "fundamentally broken."

He asserted that the majority of Americans are ready to embrace reform legislation that would help resolve the status of an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

In his July 1 speech, Obama warned that rounding up everyone in the country who has entered illegally would be both "logistically impossible" and "tear at the fabric of the nation." At the same time, the president indicated it would be wrong to offer blanket amnesty for people who came into the United States unlawfully.

Despite Obama's call for bipartisan immigration reform, several senior Democratic sources said Thursday that they see virtually no chance of Congress taking up such a measure before November's midterm elections.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. national poll conducted in late May indicated that public support for beefing up security along the U.S. border with Mexico had grown significantly.

According to the survey, nearly nine out of 10 Americans want to increase U.S. law enforcement along the border with Mexico.

Eight in 10 questioned also supported a program that would allow illegal immigrants already in the United States to stay here and apply for legal residency, provided they had a job and paid back taxes.

But only 38 percent say that program should be a higher priority than border security and other get-tough proposals. Six in 10 said border security was the higher priority.

- CNN's Terry Frieden contributed to this report

Filed under: Arizona • Immigration • Justice Department
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Larry

    More Republican lies.

    This didn't even splash the headlines until Obama started to push his reform agenda...you know, financial reform, health care reform.

    This is just all bs political.

    What did Bush do for Arizona? Or did all this illegal immigration just happen like 6 months ago

    July 6, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. snow

    nobummer is not listening to the majority of Americans and seems heck bent on selling out this country. Impeach nobummer.

    July 6, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. A HA

    Time to get rid of laraza and it's polical influence and ban them as a bad for the US. We need jobs and we need them now and all these illigals are holding our country back. The hold wages down so that folk's can't a days pay for a days wonk and yes i would take any job so long as i can pay my bills and im not asking for much but give me a break. with all these illigales taking up all jobs and they are doing wherehouse work, construction. and many jobs americans used to be proud to do for a liviable wage but we cannot compeat with them under cutting wages and living 12 to a house. an honest hard working american can't get a job that will pay the bills with 15 million folks who aren't supposed to be in this country keeping wages low and work impossible to find in many parts of this countr.Obama needs to let the states keep their jobs safe for the American worker and not corporate greedmisters who have wrecked this country with their outsoursing and low wages that they pay these same illigals. Just my two cents worth.

    July 6, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    Arizona should just enforce the law they had on the books that would have solved their problem....E-Verify. What happened with that?

    July 6, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Unit34AHunt

    President Obama is a fricking joke. This action will result in the Democratic party being *crushed* in Arizona at the polls this fall. The sooner this do-nothing jerkoff president's term expires, the better. We have REAL problems to solve in the USA. Diddling Arizona to curry favor with criminals is a huge step backwards.

    July 6, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Michael from Ventura

    Good! There are so many reasons to knock down this law!

    July 6, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Karl Nyberg

    So, when the Attorney General of Virginia files a states rights challenge to the Federal Health Care Bill, he gets slammed down as wasting time and money. Why doesn't the US Attorney General receive the same treatment here? Fairness in reporting?

    July 6, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Glen Shouse Jr.

    I don't think anyone is arguing against reform, but to suggest that police suspect a person based on their clothing opens the door to profiling. The focus of this law is primarily focused on latinos, what about others that are here illegally from other countries. We do have a northern border as well. The way a person dresses tells you nothing about a person, do they plan to profile a black person for wearing a dashiki, I don't think so, because their focus opens the door to focus on and profile latinos. The law in Arizona needs to be clarified and broadened to make all illegals responsible.

    July 6, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. thor

    The Obama administration has showed that it has no interest in preventing illegals to pour across our borders.

    July 6, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. shawna coviello

    When is the President, going to aknowlege the problem of Az virtully ungaurded boarder? Again, he "goes for blood" encouraging people to protest the Grand Canyon State, dumps money into fighting our only response that Az has had the burden of trying to solve, instead, of dealing with the problem. Nobody is going door to door, looking for illegals, someone has to have been involved in a crime, or commited a crime~ which is this states huge problem, with drug runners, coyotes, and hardened criminals. Please, MR. PRESIDENT, address the problem, instead of creating more problems.

    July 6, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. New Age Independant

    Kmarcel3 July 6th, 2010 12:42 pm ET

    "Please continue to interpret the Constitution the best way you see fit."


    Typical liberal garbage...

    July 6, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. rs

    What you supporters of this mis-guided law don't know is how badly written this thing is. Here are some facts:

    First- the law requires Arizona municipalities and counties process those arrested-it isn't an automatic handoff ti ICE. This means cities and counties have to PAY for the arrests, lawyers, jail time, processing etc. There is not budget in this bill. It is an unfunded mandate from our state.

    Second- Police tend to see this as a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" law. They will be accused of profiling in stopping suspecyed illegal immigrants from south of the border countries and be sued because of it AND they can be sued for non-enforcement if it is suspected they aren't stopping illegals. This is why many AZ Chiefs of Police, and Sheriffs are against the law.

    Third- The law introduced by State Sen. Pearce was written in Kansas- by an anti-immigrant Lawer, not Pearce, not an AZ lawyer.

    4th- Image how you might feel if you are stopped and asked to prove your status because you "look" like an illegal- over and over again? Especially if you've lived in AZ for generations? Especially because your car has a tail light out, or you don't signal a turn, or for some other law enforcement manufactured reason.

    5th-Immigration is a federal function, not a state one (please see the U.S. Constitution on this point, it is quite clear). It is idiocy for each state to pursue a separate ideology and law surrounding who can go where.

    6th-Whetehr Pearce admits it or not this is just another "we're showing our state's rights" nonsense law- like our "Official State Light Bulb" bill- (incandescent if you ask).

    Any questions?

    Meanwhile crime is the lowest in the last 20 years on our side of the border, the border is the most heavily manned, and the most armed. The most IMF/ICE agents, the most National Guard. This is purely a get-Republicans-elected issue in state- unfortunately for the rest of us Arizona looks like 1950s Alabama.

    July 6, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  13. Mary

    So a state has the guts to do as the American people want – and they are challenged. Where is the people's representation in this country?

    July 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Marti

    To all of you who are ignorant of Arizona law, it IS against the law to hire an illegal and the fines are hefty. Just today, my brother fired his housekeeper because she has illegals working for her. When SB1070 goes into effect, it will also be against the law to pick up the illegal laborers who loiter around Home Depot. Arizona is serious about its illegal problem. Learn our laws before you criticize.

    July 6, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Kumar

    I am living in this country legally. I need to carry 3 legal documents all the time (not like driving licence in wallet) to show my legality.

    I know one of my friends lost all his documents when some one robbed his car. It takes at-least 6 months to bring together all the documents. If we carry them all the time with them, there is higher chance of loosing them.

    I see no issues if cops can figure out my legality using my driving license.

    July 6, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Angie

    Go Arizona don't back down???
    Greg are you aware that Republicans and Tea Partiers are trying to pass a legislation that will eliminate Amendment XIV Section 1 of the 'Bill of rights'? That Amendment XIV Section 1 of the Bill of Rights states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction there of, are citizens of the United States and of the State where in they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.or property, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
    Dear Republicans and Tea Partiers be careful of what you wish for, because eliminating Amendment XIV Section 1 of the Bill of Rights will deprive all American citizens life, liberty, and property without due process of law. And because eliminating Amendment XIV Section 1 of the Bill of Rights will also deny protection to American Citizens equal protection of the laws.

    July 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    Pres. Reagan A REPUBLICAN gave amnesty to the undocummented immigrants in the 1980's. Why can't Pres. Obama do the same thing?

    July 6, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5