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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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State Sen Russell Pearce, Author of Arizona SB 1070, Asks Court to Decline Obama Attempt to Prevent AZ Law from Taking Effect

Obama Justice Department “asks that this Court ignore Congress’ intentions that states and localities play a vital role in immigration enforcement efforts.”

Washington, DC — July 20, 2010

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce has filed a memorandum with the United States Court for the District of Arizona opposing the Obama Justice Department’s “Motion for Preliminary Injunction,” which would prevent sections of Senator Pearce’s SB 1070 from taking effect on July 29. Senator Pearce, author of the new enforcement measure, filed a “Motion for Intervention” with the Court on July 14 seeking to uphold the law. Unsurprisingly, the Obama administration objects to Sen. Pearce’s legal effort to allow him the opportunity to defend the law he authored.

According to Senator Pearce’s memorandum (Case No. 10-cv-01413-SRB), filed by Judicial Watch on July 20, 2010:

The law of this Circuit is clear. In 1983, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that nothing in federal law precludes a city from enforcing the criminal provisions of immigration law. Gonzalez v. City of Peoria, 722 F.2d 468, 476 (9th Cir. 1983). By enacting Senate Bill 1070, as amended by House Bill 2162 (“SB 1070”), the Arizona legislature simply codified already existing enforcement provisions of federal law that has been the law of the land in some regard for more than fifty years.

By seeking to enjoin Sections 1-6 of SB 1070 from taking effect, Plaintiff seeks to overturn 20 years of precedent. Plaintiff also asks that this Court ignore Congress’ intentions that states and localities play a vital role in immigration enforcement efforts…Plaintiff’s motion is without merit and a preliminary injunction is not warranted.

On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law legislation authored by State Sen. Pearce that, among other provisions, codifies into state law already existing enforcement provisions of federal immigration law. Sen. Pearce crafted the language in the bill consistent with federal law. However, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the law and requested a preliminary injunction preventing the law from taking effect.

State Senator Pearce issued the following statement on his new court filing to defend SB 1070:

“As I’ve said all along, SB 1070 makes no new immigration law, it simply enforces the laws already on the books. Barack Obama has put politics before the safety of citizens of Arizona who are under the gun from the illegal alien crisis in our state. I refuse to apologize for standing up for America and the rule of law. I hope the Court does not allow the Obama administration to run roughshod over the rule of law.”

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton issued the following statement today on the new push to defend SB 1070:

“The Obama Justice Department’s lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with the rule of law. The Obama White House is desperate to kill this law because the President knows if it is allowed to stand, other states will follow suit, and the federal government may finally have to do its job and secure the border. And securing the border is something President Obama is loath to do. President Obama and his appointee Eric Holder are letting politics get in the way of enforcing the law. Let’s hope, for the sake of Arizona and the sake of the country, the Court allows this immigration law to take effect next week,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

To review the reply to the government’s opposition to the motion to intervene, click here.