Federal government sues Utah to block immigration law

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of an immigration law in the state of Utah.

According to the DOJ, H.B. 497 is unconstitutional because it attempts to set immigration policy at the state level, something that, according to the U.S. Constitution, is only the responsibility of the federal government.

Among other things, H.B. 497 allows for the warrantless arrest of those suspected of being in the country illegally and makes it a crime to harbor undocumented immigrants.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a press release, said in a press conference that he press releaseHe emphasized that Utah's law interferes with federal law and could lead to harassment and detention of foreign visitors and legal immigrants who are in the process of obtaining immigration status.

In addition, the state is proposing to create a "guest worker" program for undocumented workers living in Utah through H.B. 116 and H.B. 469. Since these provisions will not take effect until 2013, DOJ has decided not to file legal action against these measures at this time.

This is the fourth lawsuit filed by the federal government against states that have passed immigration laws contrary to the nation's constitutional mandates. The DOJ previously sued Arizona, Alabama and South Carolina.