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PHOENIX (AP) — The federal government took a momentous step into the immigration debate Tuesday when it filed a lawsuit seeking to throw out Arizona's crackdown on illegal immigrants, saying the law blatantly violates the Constitution.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Phoenix sets the stage for a high-stakes legal clash over states rights at a time when politicians across the country have indicated they want to follow Arizona's lead on the toughest-in-the-nation immigration law.
The legal action represents a thorough denunciation by the government of Arizona's action, declaring that the law will "cause the detention and harassment of authorized visitors, immigrants and citizens who do not have or carry identification documents" while altogether ignoring "humanitarian concerns" and harming diplomatic relations.
Supporters of the law say the suit was an unnecessary action by the federal government after years of neglecting problems at the border. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer called the lawsuit "a terribly bad decision" and defended the law as "reasonable and constitutional"
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