The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit arguing that Utah overstepped its authority when it passed a tough immigration law, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. “A patchwork of immigration laws is not the answer and will only create further problems in our immigration system,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Previous federal lawsuits have been filed in Arizona, Alabama, and South Carolina.
The new case challenges Utah measures that require law enforcement to verify the legal status of those arrested for class A misdemeanors or felonies, allow the warrantless arrest of those suspected of being in the U.S. illegally, and make it a crime to harbor or transport undocumented immigrants. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said laws like Utah's divert law enforcement resources from the most serious threats “and undermines the vital trust between local jurisdictions and the communities they serve.” Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said Utah's law was significantly different than the other laws that were challenged. “We feel strongly that we made significant changes with our law compared to Arizona's at the time,” Shurtleff said. “We think the way our law is, with our changes, we think we can defend it, that we can prevail on this and have it held constitutional.”