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Brewer, Horne sue feds over border

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Brewer, Horne sue feds over border

  • Brewer at the White House last year.
    Brewer at the White House last year.

The State of Arizona filed suit against the federal government Thursday, saying that authorities have failed to secure the border.

Gov. Jan Brewer and state Attorney General Tom Horne announced the suit, filed as a counterclaim against the federal government in the ongoing litigation over the state's controversial SB 2010 law.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, is a result of federal "constitutional failure to secure the border and protect Arizona citizens against the negative effects of illegal immigration," the governor said in a press release.

"Our message for the federal government is simple: Use federal resources to combat the cartels that are breaking federal law," Brewer said. "Don't attack Arizona, which is helping to enforce federal law."

The most heavily debated parts of Arizona's law were blocked by a federal judge last year, including the requirement that police question people about their immigration status while enforcing other laws.

The state's counterclaim alleges five failings by federal authorities:

  • Failure to gain "operational control of the border," as required under the Secure Fence Act of 2006
  • Failure to protect against "invasion"
  • Not enforcing immigration laws
  • Not reimbursing Arizona for more than $760 million in combined costs for the incarcerating illegal aliens
  • Violating the 10th Amendment by not allowing Arizona to enforce immigration laws

"While control of the border is a federal responsibility, illegal aliens who successfully cross the border and commit crime in Arizona become an Arizona responsibility," Horne said.

"By not doing its job, and using its alleged 'pre-emption' rights to stop Arizona from performing its law enforcement obligations, the United States is violating Arizona's 10th Amendment rights," he said.

While the feds, including border chief Alan Bersin, have touted the increasing safety and security of the border region, Brewer sees it otherwise.

"Residents of the region remain victims of drug and human smuggling, as well as the ever-present threat of cartel violence spilling over from the south," she said.

Seizure of smuggled drugs have increased, and the number of illegal aliens crossing the border has dropped, under a local-federal law enforcement partnership, Bersin said in Tucson this week.

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