Arizona countersues feds over border security
February 10th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Arizona countersues feds over border security

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she has "no other choice" than to sue the federal government for what she calls Washington's failure to secure her state's border and enforce immigration laws.

Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who is taking the lead on the countersuit, announced the state's plans Thursday outside a federal court in Phoenix. Arizona's move is an attempt to strike back at the Obama administration for a lawsuit blocking parts of a controversial law Brewer signed in April. It authorized police to identify and help deport those suspected of being in the country illegally. The measure sparked protests in Arizona and around the country.

"(Arizona) did not want this fight," Brewer said. "But now that we are in it, Arizona will not rest until our border is secured."

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler called Arizona's court claim a "meritless" one that "does nothing to secure the border."

"Smart strategies, dedicated law enforcement personnel and strategic partnerships with state, local and tribal governments and agencies do," Chandler said. "Not only do actions like this ignore all of the statistical evidence, they also belittle the significant progress that our men and women in uniform have made to protect this border and the people who live alongside it."

While vocal opponents of the immigration law continued to chant and wave banners, Horne detailed the five-count suit that included claims the federal government failed to protect Arizona's borders from the "invasion of illegal aliens" and costs associated with "jailing criminal immigrants."

Brewer has promised only private funds will pay for the suit and launched www.KeepAZsafe.com to collect donations.

Fighting to hold back tears, Brewer thanked supporters, who she noted had offered prayers amidst personal attacks she said she has endured. But she bounced back, saying, "If you know one thing about Jan Brewer, you know that I’m not a quitter. Arizona is doing its duty."

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Filed under: Arizona • Courts • Immigration • Lawsuit