Kyl Defends Arizona’s Immigration Law

Posted July 11, 2010 at 9:23am

Updated: July 11, 11:40 a.m.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) reiterated on Sunday his opposition to a Justice Department lawsuit challenging his state’s new immigration law.

“For the federal government to challenge this law … I think is wrong,” the Republican lawmaker said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’d be one thing if the government had controlled the border already, but it hasn’t.”

The Justice Department sued Arizona in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix on Tuesday and requested that a federal judge block the law until the case has been heard. The law, which is scheduled to go into effect later this month, allows state and local law enforcement officers to demand documentation from people who they suspect may be in the country illegally.

In a statement last week with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kyl questioned the Obama administration’s decision, asserting the move was premature because the law has yet to take effect.

Kyl argued on Sunday against the government’s position that the Arizona law would violate the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause by pre-empting federal immigration laws. “It’s not really a matter of pre-empting the federal law,” Kyl said, adding that the state’s law would provide additional assistance for immigration enforcement.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) also defended the law Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” particularly from criticism that it could amount to racial profiling. He argued it is no different from federal law that has required legal immigrants for the last 50 years to carry documentation of their status.

“All of a sudden, when Arizona codifies this because the federal government’s not doing its job, then there’s this outcry of racial profiling,” he said.

But White House senior adviser David Axelrod, in a separate interview on “Fox News Sunday,” defended the lawsuit. “We can’t have a patchwork of 50 states developing their own immigration policy,” he said.

During an appearance on “State of the Union,” Axelrod said completing a federal immigration overhaul this year would depend on GOP cooperation.

“When we have the opportunity to move forward and solve this problem, we’re going to,” he said. “I think one of the things about this Arizona law is, basically — and this is something we all agree on — the people of Arizona are saying, ‘Hey, we want the federal government to live up to its responsibilities.’ And we are calling on those folks on the other side of the aisle, who said in the past that they thought this was an important issue to solve, to join us, and when they’re willing, then we’ll be able to move forward.”

Axelrod also stated that he is “reasonably confident” an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico that began April 20 will be contained by the end of this month.

“The hope is that we will be containing all the oil that comes out of that well by the end of July,” he said. “Obviously, to kill the well will take a little bit longer.”