Obama administration to file lawsuit challenging Arizona immigration law: reports

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] plans to file a lawsuit challenging Arizona's controversial immigration legislation [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive], according to media reports Friday. Senior officials for the Obama administration are said to have confirmed the DOJ's intent [CBS report] after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [official website] mentioned the legal action in a television interview in Ecuador [recorded video]. The interview took place June 8, but was not picked up by US domestic media until this week. Last month, President Obama personally criticized the Arizona legislation [JURIST report] and said the DOJ was considering a lawsuit. Neither the administration nor the DOJ have officially confirmed the US media reports. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer [official website] responded to the reports [press release] later Friday, saying that federal legal action would be "outrageous" and a waste of federal funds that would be better spent on national immigration reform. Brewer is currently facing at least five lawsuits challenging the immigration law. She subsequently filed a motion to dismiss [press release] another lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] in May challenging the constitutionality of the law [JURIST report]. The law, which takes effect July 29, 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.

Last week, Brewer filed a motion to dismiss on similar grounds [JURIST report] a suit filed by Washington-based researcher Roberto Frisancho, alleging that the immigration legislation would lead to him being harassed when he visits Arizona because he is a US-born Hispanic. Brewer claims that the plaintiffs in the several lawsuits filed against the state law possess a "fundamental misunderstanding" of the legislation's language, citing the law's "rigorous" safeguards against racial profiling and "carefully crafted language" to avoid usurping federal authority. The law been widely criticized for its dubious constitutionality and alleged "legalization" of racial profiling. Mexican President Felipe Calderon [official website, Spanish] recently called it a "violation of human rights" [JURIST report].

 

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