PHOENIX (CN) – Arizona’s governor has asked a federal judge to dismiss the Justice Department’s complaint challenging the state’s new immigration law. Gov. Jan Brewer says the state law uses enforcement policies established by the federal government, and the Obama administration “has not identified (and cannot identify) any congressional policy that SB 1070 contravenes.”
Brewer says the Justice Department’s claims that investigations into an individual’s immigration status “would impose impermissible burdens on lawfully present persons and U.S. citizens is, in plaintiff’s own words, ‘patently absurd’ and would ‘result in wholly emasculated law enforcement.'”
The Justice Department says the new law, which takes effect this Friday, will cause an increase in immigration status requests that will divert Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resources from the agency’s “policy priorities.”
Brewer claims Congress has not only encouraged “cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, but it has mandated that DHS respond to inquiries from Arizona’s law enforcement officers regarding individuals’ immigration status.”
Arizona’s new immigration law allows police to request legal documentation during a “lawful stop” if the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant.
According to the Justice Department, the law ignores humanitarian issues by failing to consider the application process for individuals seeking asylum or special visas for victims of trafficking or violent crimes.
Brewer says nothing in the law allows Arizona officers “to make determinations regarding a person’s removability,” because they “will regularly communicate with federal authorities and their authorized agents regarding the immigration status of aliens.”
The new law “reinforces” immigration laws set by Congress in allowing Arizona to impose fines for violating federal registration requirements and will only make it illegal for a person “who is in violation of a criminal offense to transport, move, conceal, harbor, or shield unlawful aliens, or to encourage an alien to come to this state if the person knows or recklessly disregards that the person would be violating immigration laws to do so,” Brewer says.
The governor is represented by John J. Bouma with Snell & Wilmer.
At least seven lawsuits have challenged the law since Brewer signed it in April.