Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the Obama administration's plan to file suit against Arizona's new immigration enforcement law in an interview with a television station in Ecuador over a week ago. It was certainly a peculiar place and person to employ when announcing a domestic initiative by the Justice Department, and the story only came to light when a conservative blog posted the interview.
Saturday's story by Randal Archibold and Mark Landler, "Justice Dept. Will Fight Arizona on Immigration," repeated Archibold's usual labeling bias over the simmering Arizona immigration issue, pitting "conservative groups" and "the right" versus non-ideological "civil rights groups" who are unnamed but would certainly include left-leaning groups.
With immigration continuing to be a hot issue in political campaigns across the country, the Arizona law, which grants the local police greater authority to check the legal status of people they stop, has become a rallying cry for the Tea Party and other conservative groups.
At least five lawsuits have already been filed in federal court, and civil rights groups have asked a federal judge to issue an injunction while the cases are heard.
Still, in focusing on Arizona, the Obama administration is making a politically risky calculation: the move could help repair America's image south of the border but open the administration to charges that it is trampling state's rights. And a legal battle could energize the right during an election year.
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