Arizona’s anti-immigration law has finally met some resistance from the federal government. On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Arizona charging that the law is unconstitutional and seeks an injunction to prevent it from becoming put into practise on July 29.
In the document submitted in court it says, “[T]he federal government has preeminent authority to regulate immigration matters. This authority derives from the United States Constitution and numerous acts of Congress.”
The reality is that immigration and the law pertaining to it are the responsibility of the Federal government. The lawsuit is aimed at preventing a state law interfering with immigration laws. In the document it also says, “The Constitution and the federal immigration laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”
The Constitution gives the federal government the power to determine citizenship and control of the system in which immigrants become naturalized. If a state were to create a separate immigration policy from that of the federal government, it could be harmful to people’s right to move freely from state to state.
This is a good argument to bring forth in the case against Arizona, however I am disappointed in it. I’m disappointed that the lawsuit makes no mention of the larger issue. This law put forth by Arizona is discriminatory and racist; it authorizes racial profiling and violates federal civil rights laws. These aspects of the law are not being put into the lawsuit and not being talked about.
Even the New York Times acknowledged this by reporting, “In a background call with reporters, a senior [Justice] department official said the decision to file the lawsuit—and to do so on the ground that it pre-empts federal authority, rather than on civil rights grounds like racial profiling—followed extensive deliberations with the Civil Rights Division and others inside the department.”