Federal Government Sues Arizona Over Immigration Law

The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona regarding the state’s controversial immigration law. The lawsuit was filed July 6, 2010 in the U.S. District Court, Phoenix, Arizona, and is based on the doctrine of the “preemption” of federal law over state law.


Regular readers of MurthyDotCom and the MurthyBulletin have seen our recent coverage regarding the enactment of Arizona’s immigration law, S.B. 1070, aimed at undocumented immigrants. This law has been widely discussed in local and national media, and has been the subject of several of our articles; most recently, Arizona’s Enactment of New Law – Suggestions for Immigrants (02.Jul.2010). The law is scheduled to become effective on July 29, 2010, unless there is legal intervention.

Legal Issues

The lawsuit is primarily based on the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. Essentially, this legal theory of preemption means that federal laws override state laws and a state cannot pass a law on a subject that is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. The interplay of federal and state powers is a complex constitutional matter. The arguments are drawn from the federal nature of immigration control and regulation. Federal laws govern the requirements for entry to the United States, and the penalties for being present without proper documentation. The lawsuit argues that it is the federal government that has preeminent authority over immigration laws.

The lawsuit requests that the immigration-related portions of the Arizona law be declared invalid. It also asks for an injunction to stop the law from being implemented as scheduled on July 29th. There are other pending lawsuits challenging the law. The entry of the federal government into the legal efforts to challenge this law further escalates the battles being waged against Arizona’s law.


We at the Murthy Law Firm will be following this matter closely, to provide our readers with updates on the legal challenges filed against Arizona. Other states are watching the developments in Arizona, and the outcome of the federal government’s challenge likely will influence the decisions of other states that are considering similar laws.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.