WASHINGTON, July 6 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona over its controversial immigration law, which is to take effect at the end of July.
The department filed the lawsuit in Phoenix asking a federal judge to label the law as unconstitutional. The state and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer are named as defendants.
"Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country's safety."
"Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility. Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves," said the statement.
The state's controversial immigration law, which goes into effect on July 29, empowers local law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of those suspected of being in the country illegally. Critics say this could lead to racial profiling and broaden a rift with minorities.
"We are actively working with members of Congress from both parties to comprehensively reform our immigration system at the federal level because this challenge cannot be solved by a patchwork of inconsistent state laws, of which this is one," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement.
The secretary also promised to "continue to enforce the laws on the books by enhancing border security and removing criminal aliens from this country."