Monday, June 21, 2010

Hillary Clinton announces that the Justice Department will Fight Arizona on Immigration Laws

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on an Ecuadorian T.V. channel last week that the current administration will file a lawsuit against the new Arizona law SB 1070. This law which is expected to go into effect on July 29, 2010 is intended to decrease the immigrant population by arresting, and filing criminal charges against undocumented residents of the state. It is no secret that this law has created a national debate about immigration, racial profiling, and states’ rights.
The federal government only occasionally intervenes forcefully in a state’s affairs. Thus, the administration’s decision to take on this politically risky litigation during an election year illustrates the severity of the Arizona law. Lawsuits filed by the federal government in the past, include issues of discrimination, infringement on voter’s rights, prison conditions, and school desegregation.
At least five lawsuits have already been filed in federal court, and civil rights groups have asked a federal judge to issue an injunction while the cases are heard. A State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said Mrs. Clinton’s comments, were meant to answer deep qualms about the law in Mexico and other Latin American countries. “It is important to recognize that this has resonated significantly beyond our borders,” Mr. Crowley said.
While Arizona’s law has drawn opposition from those who worry that Hispanic-Americans and legal residents will be mistaken for illegal immigrants, legal scholars say the case is more likely to turn on whether it intrudes on federal immigration authority. The theory of this law, he said, is that Arizona is “borrowing federal regulatory authority to help carry out federal policy.” But he said, “If the federal government comes in and says you are interfering, I think that is going to be a problem for the state.”

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