The Obama administration has asked a judge in Arizona to dismiss a lawsuit by the state that argues that the federal government has fallen down on the job securing the border with Mexico.
The state in February sued the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security for allegedly failing to enforce federal immigration laws or gain control of the American border with Mexico and sought to compel enforcement.
The Obama administration late on Tuesday issued its 35-page response to the lawsuit, denying the allegations in Arizona’s suit and saying the state was trying to recast an earlier fight over its a strict law cracking down on illegal immigration that has since been put on hold.
The Obama administration said there is no legal basis to compel the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security to take action on immigration enforcement and border control, which is left to their “discretion and expertise.”
The Obama administration argued that the Constitution gives the federal government sole authority over immigration issues and won an injunction against those key parts of the law. On Monday, an appeals court upheld that injunction.
Arizona’s two senators, Republicans John McCain and Jon Kyl, on Wednesday introduced legislation to further improve border security, including deploying up to 6,000 National Guard troops and by 2016 deploying 5,000 more Border Patrol agents.
They also proposed constructing double-layered fencing at some locations and deploying more aerial surveillance drones along the border. The cost of the full plan would be $4 billion and paid for by finding previously unspent government funds.