Reaction by advocacy groups, elected officials and others to the U.S. Department of Justice's filing of a lawsuit challenging Arizona's immigration enforcement law:
"The Obama Administration has not done everything it can do to protect the people of Arizona from the violence and crime illegal immigration brings to our state. Until it does, the federal government should not be suing Arizona on the grounds that immigration enforcement is solely a federal responsibility." — U.S. Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain, R-Ariz.
"It is disappointing to see the federal government choosing to intervene in a state statute instead of working with Arizona to create sustainable solutions to the illegal immigration issue that our state and country so desperately need." — Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
"Gov. Jan Brewer cannot be permitted to pervert federal policy priorities and obstruct national progress all in the name of political pandering." — Thomas A. Saenz, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund president and general council.
"Arizona's new law will likely spawn a patchwork of new immigration laws around the country. This isn't an optimal approach. However, the response cannot be a patchwork of federal challenges — it needs to be comprehensive immigration reform." — U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.
"The impact of illegal immigration on Arizona's well-being cannot be denied. But to require local police to act as immigration agents when a lack of local resources already makes enforcing criminal laws and ordinances a challenging proposition, is not realistic. " — Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.
"This lawsuit is a sideshow, distracting us from the real task at hand. " — U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz.
" Our country needs a federal solution to this problem, not a chaotic hodgepodge of 50 different state immigration policies." — U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairwoman.
"For President Obama to stand in the way of a state which has taken action to stand up for its citizens against this daily threat of violence and fear is disgraceful and a betrayal of his Constitutional obligation to protect our citizens. " — U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ranking minority member.
"While the president acknowledged last week that Arizonans are justifiably fed up with inaction, filing a lawsuit is counterproductive to his statements of appealing to the American people's highest ideals to create a sensible and workable immigration policy. Arizonans are tired of the grandstanding. Political posturing on this issue has to end." — U.S. Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz.
"The administration's lawsuit is a cannon shot across the bow of other states that may be tempted to follow Arizona's misguided approach. "— Lucas Guttentag, ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project director.
"Instead of spending taxpayer funds to challenge Arizona's constitutional right to protect its borders and its citizens, the Obama administration should secure Arizona's borders and the borders of other states." — Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice.
"The people Jan Brewer calls 'illegal' will one day be citizens of this country, they will become leaders of Arizona, and they will have succeeded in strengthening the Union and defending our Constitution along their path.— Pablo Alvarado, National Day Laborer Organizing Network director.
“Federal lawyers arguing with state lawyers will do nothing to
strengthen border security or to fix our broken immigration laws.
The supreme irony of the lawsuit is its premise that SB 1070
intrudes on the federal government’s responsibility to enforce
immigration laws. Had the federal government taken that
responsibility seriously in the past, neither today’s lawsuit nor
the state law that prompted it would be necessary.” — U.S. Rep.
“The lawsuit is prudent and necessary. Prudent because you have to defend the constitutional prerogatives of all of us, including the federal government. And necessary because you have to test this law. And even the most ardent supporter, whether it’s Jan Brewer or Russell Pearce, I hope after they took an oath of office to defend the constitution, would want to make sure they’re defending and implementing the law that passes constitutional muster.” — U.S. Rep Raul Grijalva
“I welcome the filing of the federal lawsuit which is designed to get a quick answer from the court on this issue. No one can deny that Arizona has borne a particular burden caused by the slowness of federal authorities, including Congress, to address this issue. Nevertheless, I believe the quickest way to get the preemption issue resolved is by the federal lawsuit.” — Pinal County Attorney James Walsh.
“We are already seeing and hearing immigrant and Latino families who are afraid to call on law enforcement. This fear frays the relationship between law enforcement and communities and makes their jobs more difficult.” — Jennifer Allen, executive director, Border Action Network.
“The concerted scapegoating of immigrants by some Arizona Republicans has poisoned our political environment, endangered our community, moved our nation further away from needed immigration reform, and above all, it has imperiled the civil rights of all Arizonans. Thankfully, the courts will have the last word.” — Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.
“The federal government has failed to protect the people of Arizona from illegal aliens, so the state government, quite sensibly, moved to fill the void. This lawsuit should fail because it is based on the absurd assertion that Arizona should be punished for enforcing federal immigration laws which our current president and current attorney general have no interest in enforcing.” — Former congressman and current U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth.
“Instead of sending a sufficient number of National Guard troops and financial resources to secure the border, President Obama is sending lawyers.” — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Buz Mills.
Source: The Associated Press and Capitol Media Services