James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/06/2010 08:56:14 PM PDT
The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Arizona over the state's new immigration law, known as S.B. 1070.
The long-expected lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the federal district court of Arizona, asks a judge to overturn the controversial law, which requires Arizona law-enforcement officers to check the immigration status of people they suspect might be in the country illegally.
Although opponents have questioned whether the law violates civil rights - many are concerned that police are more likely to be suspicious of Latinos and other non-whites - the suit mainly argues that the federal government, not any individual state, is responsible for enforcing immigration law.
"Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Tuesday. "Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves."
The suit holds that, "Although states may exercise their police power in a manner that has an incidental or indirect effect on aliens, a state may not establish its own immigration policy."
Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, called S.B. 1070 "un-American" and "a severe setback to our liberties."
"It's right for them to sue Arizona," Baca said. "Everybody must
follow the Constitution."
He, like Holder, said leaving individual states to create immigration law would be disastrous.
"Immigration is a problem that can only be solved by a comprehensive solution," Baca said. "There should be a standard across the U.S."
Baca said he believes S.B. 1070 will be overturned.
Rep. Gary Miller, R-Brea, called the lawsuit baseless.
"This lawsuit reveals the Obama administration's contempt for immigration laws, the people of Arizona, and for the majority of the American people who support Arizona's efforts to reduce human smuggling, drug trafficking and illegal immigration," he said in a statement. "Arizona has taken a reasonable and constitutional approach to dealing with a problem that has been ignored - and exacerbated - by the Obama administration."
Tim Donnelly, a former Minuteman who is running for the 59th District Assembly seat, said Arizona has a right to enact its own immigration laws because the federal government hasn't protected the state from what he calls an invasion of illegal immigrants.
He said most Americans, regardless of party affiliation, agree with the Arizona law.
He said immigration will likely be the undoing of the Obama presidency.
"Obama is not a king," Donnelly said. "He serves at the will of the people. The people can throw him out in the next election and probably will."
Assemblyman Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills, said the federal government has left states with few options but to fend for themselves, especially as states face fiscal crises while paying for the effects of illegal immigration.
"They're telling us we have to take care of all these people because they're not going to enforce the law," Hagman said. "That leaves us holding the bag, with billions and billions in costs."
Hagman said the Obama administration should be focused on securing U.S. borders, not on "suing American citizens."
That's a common, though not unanimous, view in the Republican Party.
Assemblyman Anthony Adams, R-Claremont, the man Donnelly wants to replace, said he, too, wants the federal government to enforce current laws, but he also said S.B. 1070 probably isn't constitutional.
"I'm a huge states' rights guy," Adams said. "But the Constitution is explicitly clear that immigration is solely under the federal government's purview."
He said Arizona lawmakers have a right to be frustrated, but they don't have the right to enforce federal law on their own. A better tactic, he said, would be for Arizona voters to put pressure on federal lawmakers.
"It's not acceptable to allow the federal government to do nothing," Adams said. "But the appropriate response is to kick out complacent politicians at the federal level. We should be holding our federal politicians' feet to the fire for their lack of action."
Well, we were expecting this, and here it is. If I were Gov. Brewer, I wouldn't even send a lawyer to Federal court. I'd ignore the whole thing, and enforce the law anyway. I'd also remind The Feds that she is the Commander-In-Chief of the Arizona National Guard.
HANG TOUGH, GOVERNOR BREWER!
BTW, it greatly infuriates and galls me, but unfortunately I just happen to live in Joe Baca's Congressional District. In fact, he has his office in the same building as that liberal shrew, Senator Barbara Boxer. Local conservatives refer to the building as, "The Kalifornia Kremlin."