Judge dismisses Arizona immigration suit

Oct. 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM
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PHOENIX, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A federal judge dismissed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's lawsuit in which she said the Obama administration failed to enforce immigration laws or secure the border.

The suit from Brewer, who argued the federal government failed to protect Arizona from an "invasion" of illegal immigrants, was a counter-suit to a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's strict immigration law.

The Arizona Republic reported U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton said higher appeals courts had determined states cannot sue the federal government for failing to prevent illegal immigration.

Bolton said Brewer's contention that the federal government failed to protect Arizona from "invasion" by illegal immigrants is a political issue to be decided by lawmakers, not the courts.

Brewer released a statement calling Bolton's decision "frustrating but not entirely surprising."

"It is but the latest chapter in a story that Arizonans know all too well," she said. "The federal government ignores its constitutional and statutory duty to secure the border. Federal courts avert their eyes. American citizens pay the price."

The counter-suit argued the U.S. government has failed to gain "operational control" of the border, isn't enforcing federal immigration law and has not adequately reimbursed the state for spending more than $760 million to incarcerate illegal immigrants.

The counter-suit also contended the federal government tried to prevent the state from protecting its citizens by filing a suit to challenge the state immigration law. In the counter-suit, Arizona requested the court require the federal government to complete construction of 700 miles of fence on the Mexican border, provide enough immigration officers in Arizona to respond to local law enforcement requirements and let the state enforce federal immigration laws.

The Arizona immigration law requires law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status during routine law enforcement operations if officers have reason to suspect people are in the United States illegally.

The Republic said the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide in the next few months whether it will hear the Justice Department case on the Arizona law.

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