November 23, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Utah’s immigration enforcement law, arguing that it usurps federal authority and could potentially lead to the harassment and detention of American citizens and authorized visitors.
“A patchwork of immigration laws is not the answer and will only create further problems in our immigration system,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “The federal government is the chief enforcer of immigration laws … it is clearly unconstitutional for a state to set its own immigration policy.”
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court after months of negotiations between Justice Department attorneys, state attorneys and elected leaders. Justice officials said they plan to continue those discussions despite the lawsuit.
Other federal agencies included in the lawsuit are Homeland Security and the State Department.