The increased immigration law crackdown by President Barack Obama’s administration has brought more challenges to several states. According to The Washington Post, lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department are suing Alabama and Arizona and are also considering legal challenges to states such as Indiana, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Some legal experts think the onslaught of challenges brought on by Obama’s administration is unusual. Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C, is one of them. “I don’t recall any time in history that the Justice Department has so aggressively challenged state laws,” he said.
At a roundtable filled with Latino reporters last week, President Obama spoke of Arizona’s immigration law, which he said created “a great danger that naturalized citizens, individuals with Latino surnames, potentially could be vulnerable to questioning. The laws could be potentially abused in ways that were not fair to Latino citizens.” The law, which was passed in the state last year, required police officials to check the immigration status of those they stopped while enforcing other laws. A lawsuit spurred by the U.S. Justice Department led federal courts to block the provisions of the bill that causes the most contention.
While the U.S. government is being pressured by some groups to intervene in some states’ immigration laws, others such as Utah want it to stay out of court. Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s Republican attorney general, said that the state worked hard to make its immigration law different from Arizona’s. Utah’s law and those of other states’ are being reviewed by lawyers, said Justice Department spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa. The Washington Post reports that some legal observers have felt political motives driving the administration’s legal steps.
In an exclusive interview with Latina, President Obama spoke about immigration, which has been categorized as a defining issue in the presidential campaign The Post. “We want to send the message that we have to enforce the law,” he said.