AILA Commends the Courageous Action by the DOJ to File Suit Against Arizona Over S.B. 1070

Tuesday, July 6, 2010
CONTACT: George Tzamaras

Jenny Levy

WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) commends the courageous action today against the Arizona immigration law by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in filing a lawsuit challenging this misguided law. The DOJ's stance is a resounding "NO" to Arizona by reaffirming control over immigration policy at the federal level. "I applaud President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder for their willingness to take the fight against Arizona's unconstitutional 'show me your papers' law to the courts. By filing this lawsuit the President has declared, in a loud and clear voice, that in America we will not tolerate people being forced to live in fear based upon the color of their skin and the misguided belief that the darker their tone, the more likely they are illegal," said David Leopold, president of AILA.

The DOJ lawsuit says the law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives, invoking as the suit's main argument the legal doctrine of "preemption," which is based on the Constitution's supremacy clause and says that federal law trumps state statutes. The Justice Department argues that enforcing immigration laws is a federal responsibility. "Arizona impermissibly seeks to regulate immigration by creating an Arizona-specific immigration policy that is expressly designed to rival or supplant that of the federal government." the Justice Department says in its legal brief. "As such, Arizona's immigration policy exceeds a state's role with respect to aliens, interferes with the federal government's balanced administration of the immigration laws, and critically undermines U.S. foreign policy objectives."

The filing also asserts that the Arizona law would harm people's civil rights, leading to police harassment of U.S. citizens and foreigners. From the moment the bill was signed into law, President Obama has warned that the law could violate citizens' civil rights, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has expressed concern that it could drive a wedge between police and immigrant communities. The Justice Department argues that the law would burden federal agencies, diverting resources from the pursuit of people implicated in terrorism, drug smuggling, and other crimes.

"AILA stands ready and willing to work with the Administration and Congress not only to fight hateful legislation, such as Arizona's S.B. 1070, but to work positively to fashion and implement a historic overhaul of our dysfunctional immigration system that will be good for Arizona and the entire nation," added Leopold.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 10070620.