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Arizona governor countersues US government over immigration law

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) [official website] announced Thursday that she and state Attorney General Tom Horne [official profile] had filed a counterclaim [summary, PDF] in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] against the US government in the lawsuit challenging the controversial Arizona immigration law [SB 1070 materials; JURIST news archive]. The counterclaim contains five counts accusing the federal government of violating the Secure Fence Act of 2006 [text, PDF] by losing control of the border with Mexico, violating Article 4 [text] of the US Constitution by failing to protect Arizona from an "invasion" of illegal immigrants, failing to enforce federal immigration law 8 USC §1373 [text] requiring the government to respond to state inquiries about individuals' immigration status, refusing to reimburse the state costs of battling illegal immigration under the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program [text, PDF] and violating the Tenth Amendment [text] of the Constitution by infringing on state rights. Brewer said that the state has been collecting private donations [Arizona Republic report] to help fund the lawsuit.

In October, a federal judge denied [JURIST report] motions to dismiss a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the constitutionality of the immigration law. The class action joined two other lawsuits filed [JURIST report] earlier last year that also challenged the law. The US Department of Justice [official website] in July filed suit [JURIST report] against Brewer seeking to permanently enjoin the state's immigration law. The complaint states that the law is preempted by federal law and therefore violates the Supremacy Clause [text] of the US Constitution. The Arizona law criminalizes illegal immigration and requires police officers to question an individual's immigration status if the officer has a "reasonable suspicion" to believe an individual is in the country illegally. It has been widely criticized in regard to the law's constitutionality and alleged "legalization" of racial profiling.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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