TODAY’S QUESTION: Who’s right? The federal government or Arizona lawmakers?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 | 12:09 p.m. CDT

On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging Arizona’s recently passed law on illegal immigration. According to The New York Times, the Justice Department has requested an injunction to prevent the law from going forward.

The Arizona law, known as SB 1070, was passed in April, and it has been the center of protests and controversy ever since. According to this earlier The New York Times report, the law allows police to detain anyone suspected of illegal status and makes it a crime if immigrants do not carry immigration papers with them.

In the suit, the federal government argues that state laws such as Arizona’s would undermine attempts to capture terrorists and illegal aliens with criminal records. An article from The Arizona Republic mentions that the suit also claims the new law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. The clause indicates that federal law outweighs state laws that oppose it.

While The Arizona Republic’s article says that the state’s U.S. Attorney, Dennis Burke, believes the law to be unconstitutional and that the Justice Department is obliged to defend the Constitution, Gov. Jan Brewer called the lawsuit a bad decision, adding, “It is wrong that our own federal government is suing the people of Arizona for helping to enforce federal immigration law.” She went on to say, “Today’s filing is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds.”

The lawsuit comes as no surprise, but Tuesday’s filing brought the controversy to center stage again.

The new Arizona law is scheduled to take effect on July 29. According to The Arizona Republic, a federal judge is expected to review the injunction request as early as next week.

Who’s right? The federal government or Arizona lawmakers?

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John Wolpers July 8, 2010 | 4:19 p.m.

First, the above story's attributes to the NYT need to be corrected. "the law allows police to detain anyone suspected of illegal status and makes it a crime if immigrants do not carry immigration papers with them" is not only not in the law, but makes it illegal to do same. Secondly, for decades federal law requires non-citizens to carry papers at all times. And third, even after admitting they never read the law, Eric Holder, Janet Napolatano, and Barrack Obama said the problem with the law is it is discriminatory, yet the federal suit against Arizona makes no mention of that. It uses the supremacy clause as its reason. So, how is it that a law that is less stringent than federal law, but mirrors the law is wrong, but sanctuary cities who openly defy federal law are right?

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