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NationalPress Release

NAKASEC Applauds Department of Justice Lawsuit Against Arizona’s Unconstitutional SB 1070

By July 6, 2010No Comments

For Immediate Release

July 6, 2010

Contacts: Eun Sook Lee, NAKASEC, 323-937-3703 x205

Sik Son, KRCC, 773-588-9158

Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, 323-937-3718

NAKASEC Applauds Department of Justice Lawsuit Against Arizona’s Unconstitutional SB 1070

Today, the United States Department of Justice took an important step in filing a lawsuit against Arizona’s unconstitutional and racist SB 1070 law, which is set to take effect on July 29.  NAKASEC welcomes this step and will be tracking the movement of this lawsuit.  In May, several leading civil rights groups filed a lawsuit against SB 1070 and NAKASEC has supported through the amicus brief.

“NAKASEC and our affiliates are deeply concerned about the impact SB 1070 will have on the immigrant communities of Arizona; we will keep up the pressure on the Administration, Congress and Arizona’s lawmakers to strike down SB 1070 and work toward real immigration reform,” said EunSook Lee, Executive Director of NAKASEC.

The official release from the Department of Justice is attached below.


NAKASEC is a national organization founded in 1994 by local Korean American community organizations to project a national progressive voice and promote the full civic participation of Korean Americans as part of a greater goal of building a national movement for social change.


Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Citing Conflict with Federal Law, Department of Justice Challenges Arizona Immigration Law

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice challenged the state of Arizona’s recently passed immigration law, S.B. 1070, in federal court today.

In a brief filed in the District of Arizona, the Department said S.B. 1070 unconstitutionally interferes with the federal government’s authority to set and enforce immigration policy, explaining that “the Constitution and federal law do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local immigration policies throughout the country.”  A patchwork of state and local policies would seriously disrupt federal immigration enforcement.  Having enacted its own immigration policy that conflicts with federal immigration law, Arizona “crossed a constitutional line.”

The Department’s brief said that S.B. 1070 will place significant burdens on federal agencies, diverting their resources away from high-priority targets, such as aliens implicated in terrorism, drug smuggling, and gang activity, and those with criminal records.  The law’s mandates on Arizona law enforcement will also result in the harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants, as well as U.S. citizens, who cannot readily prove their lawful status.

In declarations filed with the brief, Arizona law enforcement officials, including the Chiefs of Police of Phoenix and Tucson, said that S.B. 1070 will hamper their ability to effectively police their communities.  The chiefs said that victims of or witnesses to crimes would be less likely to contact or cooperate with law enforcement officials and that implementation of the law would require them to reassign officers from critical areas such as violent crimes, property crimes, and home invasions.

The Department filed the suit after extensive consultation with Arizona officials, law enforcement officers and groups, and civil rights advocates.  The suit was filed on behalf of the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State, which share responsibilities in administering federal immigration law.

“Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns,” Attorney General Holder said.  “But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country’s safety.   Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility.  Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.”

“With the strong support of state and local law enforcement, I vetoed several similar pieces of legislation as Governor of Arizona because they would have diverted critical law enforcement resources from the most serious threats to public safety and undermined the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said.  “We are actively working with members of Congress from both parties to comprehensively reform our immigration system at the federal level because this challenge cannot be solved by a patchwork of inconsistent state laws, of which this is one.  While this bipartisan effort to reform our immigration system progresses, the Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce the laws on the books by enhancing border security and removing criminal aliens from this country.”

The Department has requested a preliminary injunction to enjoin enforcement of the law, arguing that the law’s operation will cause irreparable harm.

“Arizona impermissibly seeks to regulate immigration by creating an Arizona-specific immigration policy that is expressly designed to rival or supplant that of the federal government.  As such, Arizona’s immigration policy exceeds a state’s role with respect to aliens, interferes with the federal government’s balanced administration of the immigration laws, and critically undermines U.S. foreign policy objectives.  S.B. 1070 does not simply seek to provide legitimate support to the federal government’s immigration policy, but instead creates an unprecedented independent immigration scheme that exceeds constitutional boundaries,” the Department said in its brief.


Download the Supporting Documents:

Complaint Filed (PDF)
Arizona PI Brief (PDF)
Declaration of Daniel Ragsdale (PDF)
Declaration of David Aguilar (PDF)
Declaration of David Palmatier (PDF)
Declaration of Dominick Gentile (PDF) 
Declaration of Mariko Silver (PDF)
Declaration of Michael Aytes (PDF)
Declaration of Roberto Villasenor (PDF)
Declaration of Jack Harris
Declaration of Tony Estrada (PDF)