PHOENIX — The Arizona state government announced Thursday that it is suing the U.S. federal government, alleging that Washington has failed to secure the state's porous border with Mexico.
Gov. Jan Brewer and state Attorney General Tom Horne, both Republicans, told reporters that they filed a countersuit against the government in federal court in Phoenix.
The suit is in response to a government lawsuit blocking key parts of the state's tough law cracking down on illegal immigrants last year.
"What we are seeking is to force the federal government to do its job," Horne said at a news conference in central Phoenix, as boisterous protesters attempted to shout him down.
The desert state straddles a busy smuggling corridor for people and drugs from Mexico.
Brewer signed the controversial measure cracking down on illegal immigrants into law last April, sparking protests in Arizona and around the country.
At the heart of the state law is the requirement that police determine the immigration status of a person they have detained and suspect of being in the country illegally.
But before the state law could take effect last July, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton blocked key parts, based on the argument that immigration matters are the federal government's responsibility.
In November, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit heard arguments in the case. It has yet to issue a ruling.
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