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Arizona to counter-sue Feds over immigration

Arizona to counter-sue Feds over immigration

CREATED Jun 30, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nuñez
Web Producers: David Rush, Ina Ronquillo, Layla Tang

PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne filed a counterclaim or lawsuit against the federal government for failing to enforce its immigration laws.

Brewer made the announcement outside the Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix Thursday afternoon. She told reporters the feds haven't secured the state's border with Mexico and stuck Arizona with the tab for fighting illegal immigration.

"Our message for the federal government is simple: Use federal resources to combat the cartels that are breaking federal law," said Governor Brewer. "Don't attack Arizona, which is helping to enforce federal law."

According to a press release distributed by the Governor's office, Arizona's counterclaim is based on five simple points. The federal government has: failed to gain "operational control of the border," as required under the Secure Fence Act of 2006; failed to enforce multiple federal immigration laws; failed to protect Arizona from economic harms and violence associated with illegal immigration, as mandated by the Constitution; been negligent in not reimbursing Arizona for more than $760 million in combined costs for the incarceration of illegal aliens under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program; and has sought to pre-empt Arizona from its constitutional right and duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of its own citizens.

"While control of the border is a federal responsibility, illegal aliens who successfully cross the border and commit crime in Arizona become an Arizona responsibility," said Attorney General Horne. "By not doing its job, and using its alleged ‘pre-emption' rights to stop Arizona from performing its law enforcement obligations, the United States is violating Arizona's 10th Amendment rights."

Brewer continued by saying her claim will be filed in the federal government's challenge to Arizona's new immigration law.

Federal Judge Susan Bolton blocked most of the controversial elements of SB1070 including the requirement that police, when enforcing other laws, question people's immigration status if there's a reasonable suspicion they're in the country illegally.

However, Judge Bolton can not rule on the counterclaim until the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals rules on SB1070 and returns the case to federal court.