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U.S. Says Immigration Feud in Ariz. Is All Politics

(CN) - Arizona's immigration countersuit against the federal government is nothing more than a rehashing of allegations already rejected by other courts and "generalized allegations and questions of a political nature," the U.S. Justice Department said Wednesday.

The state filed a countersuit in February in response to the government's attempts to stop enforcement of S.B. 1070, Arizona's tough and controversial immigration law passed in 2010.

In its countersuit, Arizona claims that the federal government has violated the U.S. Constitution by failing to enforce immigration laws. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer alleges in the filing that the government's failure has resulted in "staggering economic, social, and institutional costs and damages associated with illegal immigration in Arizona."

The government moved for dismissal in a response filed late Tuesday, calling the countersuit politically motivated and without legal merit.

"Through their counterclaims, the State of Arizona and Governor Brewer have attempted to recast the justifications they advanced in defense of S.B. 1070 as claims against the federal government - recycling a series of claims that Arizona brought against the United States in 1994 that were rejected both by this court and the Ninth Circuit," Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West wrote in a 35-page response filed in Arizona District Court.

On Monday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld an injunction barring several provisions of S.B. 1070.

"Through its counterclaims, Arizona repeatedly raises generalized allegations and questions of a political nature, rather than a colorable constitutional or statutory claim," West wrote. "This Court is not the proper forum in which to air such grievances. Arizona's constitutional claims represent an improper attempt to re-litigate legal issues which have already been adjudicated by this court, and which are plainly barred as non-justiciable or non-cognizable.

"Arizona's statutory claims fare no better, as they seek to compel federal agencies to take actions relating to immigration enforcement and control that are committed to these agencies' discretion and expertise. There is no legal basis for requesting such extraordinary steps, nor are there any judicially manageable standards for supervising these aspects of the federal government's system of immigration enforcement. Accordingly, this Court should dismiss the counterclaims in their entirety."

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