Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer and state legislators from both sides of the aisle vowed to fight all the way to the Supreme Court against a Justice Department suit challenging the state’s tough new immigration law.
“I will not stop fighting to protect the citizens of Arizona and to defend Arizonans in federal court,” Brewer said. “Arizona will ultimately prevail against the lawsuits—including this latest assault by the Obama Administration. Our laws will be found to be constitutional—because that is exactly what they are.”
Brewer called the DOJ lawsuit “a massive waste of federal funds.”
“As a direct result of failed and inconsistent federal enforcement, Arizona is under attack from violent Mexican drug and immigrant smuggling cartels,” Brewer said. “Now, Arizona is under attack in federal court from President Obama and his Department of Justice.”
The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a 27-page suit in the 9th U.S Circuit of Appeals in Phoenix saying the Arizona law violated the supremacy clause of the Constitution and sought an injunction against the law’s implementation. SB 1070, the illegal-immigration enforcement law, passed in April and was slated to go into effect July 29.
Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s staff again alleged SB 1070 will result in racial profiling, but unlike the federal statute which SB 1070 mirrors, Arizona’s law expressly prohibits racial profiling. State and local law enforcement officers are being trained to avoid crossing that line under penalty of termination and criminal charges.
“We’re not going to be intimidated by the Department of Justice,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. “The federal government should be asking for our help instead of suing us.”
Arpaio plans the sheriff department’s 16th illegal immigrant sweep to coincide withSB 1070’s implementation date.
SB 1070 author and state Sen. Russell Pearce, (R.-Mesa) said the Justice Department lawsuit is merely “a continuation of the federal government’s failure to enforce federal law” and “violates” federal statutes by “consciously failing” to uphold the laws of the land.
Pearce rejected the government’s notion that SB 1070 will overwhelm the enforcement and judicial federal system that concentrates only on “serious” immigrant criminals. Pearce plans to introduce legislation meant to strip American citizenship from the “anchor babies” of illegal immigrants born in the United States. Certain to be challenge if passed, the courts would have to re-interpret the 14th Amendment’s citizenship rights to uphold such a law.
State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, (D.-Phoenix) opposes the SB 1070, but said the lawsuits should “settle questions” over what states can do when federal laws are inadequately enforced.
“I hope this galvanizes Congress to gain the moral courage they need to address this crisis,” Sinema said.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton scheduled a preliminary hearing for July 15 to hear arguments from the previous five, now six, plaintiffs asking for an injunction against SB 1070.
Bolton granted Mexico’s government and a service union permission to file friend-of-the-court briefs, but placed limits on the number of briefs because attorneys for both sides buried her office under a mountain of paper.
Bolton will hear arguments July 22 on the status of whether law enforcement officers can challenge SB 1070, and a request by the state to dismiss lawsuits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, a Tucson police officer, a Department of Public Safety patrolman, religious and pro-immigration groups.
Kris Kobach, the constitutional attorney and law professor who drafted the language of SB 1070, said the government’s assertions “do not fit settled federal law” rulings on federal supremacy over immigration enforcement.
Kobach said the courts have repeatedly upheld the obligations of local law agencies to enforce federal law. In 24 states, several hundred law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration statutes under the government’s 287(g) program.
“The issue was already teed up in the courts. There’s no reason for the Justice Department to get involved. The Justice Department doesn’t add anything by bringing their own lawsuit,” Kobach said.
For many Arizona residents, President Obama’s recent immigration speech confirmed the accuracy of Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R.-Ariz.) statement at a June town hall meeting. Desperate for an issue to shore up his lagging support, the President is holding the border states hostage for comprehensive immigration reforms, including amnesty for illegal aliens.
Obama’s promise of 564 National Guard troops and $150 million (as yet unfunded) for Arizona border enforcement was universally panned as an empty gesture, even sparking outrage when it was revealed that Mexico will receive more funds from the federal government.
In the past month, two Mexican nationals were murdered by smugglers in the same area 45 miles south of Phoenix where a sheriff’s deputy was ambushed and shot by smugglers in May. Twice, bullets fired from the Mexican side of the border struck El Paso’s City Hall in Texas. An El Paso Border Patrol agent shot and killed a teen-aged Mexican smuggler who was throwing rocks at agents arresting another smuggler, nearly sparking a gun battle with Mexican police and Federales who regularly watch and do nothing as smugglers and illegals cross the border.
Mexican cartels made death threats against Nogales, Ariz., police officers and gave a “green light” for the killing of Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Babeu, who campaigns with Sen. John McCain and echoed the senator’s disgust over the DOJ lawsuit, declined a special security detail and pledged to continue cracking down on smugglers.
“The stance of Obama’s administration makes an Arizona victory imperative,” said Pinal County resident Kathleen Moffitt. “When the government refuses to enforce the law and fails to secure the border to protect Americans, the states must be free to act. I wonder what Obama will say if Babeu is murdered?”