Feds ask judge to throw out suit over illegal immigration
DENVER – An attorney for the federal government asked a judge Thursday to throw out a lawsuit filed by the state alleging the government failed to do enough to stop illegal immigration, saying the courts can’t tell Congress and the president how to do their jobs.
U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock also questioned whether he had the authority to grant Colorado’s request that he order the federal government to hire more border guards and provide more detention space for illegal immigrants.
“If you get what you ask for and I take control of the government, heaven help us all,” Babcock told attorney Stephen Smith, who is representing the state.
The lawsuit was filed after Colorado voters approved Referendum K in November directing state Attorney General John Suthers to sue.
Suthers said similar lawsuits filed by other states have failed, but the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks changed the way states must look at border security and whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligations. Smith said the lawsuit is the first of its kind filed after the attacks.
The suit says Congress and the executive branch have acknowledged the threat of terrorism but haven’t taken adequate steps in response.
The state contends it has the right to sue because of an “invasion” of illegal immigrants that could allow terrorists to come to Colorado and disrupt the Democratic National Convention in August, putting the state in imminent danger.
Babcock called that speculation and told Smith the only invasion that is certain in Colorado next year is by Democrats and media for the August convention.
Smith acknowledged that the risk of catastrophic harm from illegal immigrants “is remote, but real.”
Babcock said he will rule later on the federal government’s motion to dismiss the case.
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