Arizona filed a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government for failure to achieve or maintain operational control of its border with Mexico and for allowing an "invasion" of illegal immigrants into the state that "cannot bear the staggering cost of protecting itself."
The suit is the state's response to the Obama administration's lawsuit against Arizona, filed last year, to stop it from implementing a harsh immigration enforcement law that would require police officers to check the legal status of people they think might be in the country illegally. Civil rights groups and immigration advocates say that kind of law would lead to a rash of racial profiling.
The administration said Arizona's law conflicts with the federal government's designated role as the sole enforcer of immigration laws. The law has been stayed by a federal judge and awaits a ruling in a federal appeals court. Several other states are lining up to pass laws similar to Arizona's enforcement law, even though it's a distinct possibility that those laws will end up in court.
Arizona's complaint against the federal government echoes concerns expressed by many Republicans on Capitol Hill-that the administration isn't doing enough to curb illegal immigration. "The [Homeland Security Department] Secretary has not built at least 700 miles of fence along the border as required" by a law that was approved in 2006, the complaint said. "The Secretary has failed to provide for the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors to achieve and maintain 'operational control.' "
Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer said the government should use its resources to protect Arizona from drug cartels that are using Arizona's borders for their operations. "Don't attack Arizona, which is helping enforce federal law."