PHOENIX (AP) - The stage is set for a clash between the federal government and the state of Arizona, over the nation's toughest immigration crackdown.
The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit arguing that Arizona's new law targeting illegal immigrants is unconstitutional. The suit says the federal government, and not the states, has the power to regulate immigration.
The government wants an injunction to delay the implementation of the law later this month until the case is resolved.
The Arizona state senator who's the principal sponsor of the law says the suit is an "absolute insult to the rule of law." Republican Russell Pearce says the administration wants to continue what he calls its "non-enforcement policy."
But a Democratic legislator who opposes the law says the suit should help settle questions over what states can do when they don't think federal laws are being adequately enforced.
More than 20 other states are considering legislation similar to the Arizona law.