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PHOENIX - The federal lawsuit against Arizona’s tough new immigration law focuses heavily on a question that has been in the spotlight repeatedly the past decade and dates back to the Founding Fathers: The right of the government to keep states from enacting laws that usurp federal authority.
The lawsuit filed in Phoenix federal court on Tuesday sidestepped concerns about the potential for racial profiling and civil rights violations most often raised by immigration advocates. Experts said those are weaker arguments that don’t belong in a legal challenge brought by the White House to get the measure struck down.
Instead, the suit lays out why the government believes that immigration laws passed by Congress and enforced by a range of federal agencies must take precedence to any passed by a state Legislature.
The Arizona law requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to question a person’s immigration status if there’s a reasonable suspicion that they are here illegally, such as speaking poor English, traveling in an overcrowded vehicle or hanging out in an area where immigrants typically congregate.
The law also makes it a state crime for legal immigrants to not carry their immigration documents.
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