As widely anticipated, Attorney General Eric Holder today filed a lawsuit against Arizona and Gov. Jan Brewer over the state’s immigration law. The suit seeks a preliminary injunction to stop the law from being implemented.
The court filing states that Arizona law is pre-empted by federal law and therefore violates the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The filing makes no assertion that the law is discriminatory or risks being applied in a discriminatory fashion, as the president and other officials said they feared would be the case. Interestingly, this suit makes no civil rights charges against the Arizona law.
“The State of Arizona has crossed this constitutional line,” write Assistant Attorney General Tony West, United States Attorney Dennis K. Burke and others. “In acknowledged disagreement with the manner in which the federal government has regulated immigration and in contravention of these constitutional principles…The states are not permitted to set their own independent immigration policies, with varying and potentially conflicting enforcement systems and priorities. Were a number of states to act as Arizona has and strike out on their own, federal immigration policy and enforcement efforts would be crippled.”
The suit states that the Arizona law pursues only the goal of “attrition” while ignoring other objectives Congress has established for the federal immigration system.
You can read more about the lawsuit in THIS PIECE by Senior Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas.
UPDATE: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, released a statement saying: “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. It is long past time for this administration to prioritize solving a crisis over imposing an agenda and the first step is to recognize that attorneys and amnesty are not acceptable alternatives to border security and job creation.”
Gov. Brewer, meanwhile, is soliciting donations to help defend the state from the Justice Department lawsuit, tweeting: "We will be very aggressive in defending our law. Donate to help keep AZ safe.”