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Justice Department Sues AZ Community College System

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona on Monday. The suit is based off of an 18-month DOJ probe that revealed “a pattern or practice of discrimination” by Maricopa, which required approximately 250 job applicants that were not US citizens to present documentation, including green cards, beyond what federal law requires. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who leads the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement that the anti-discrimination clause of the Immigration and Nationality Act “makes it unlawful to treat authorized workers differently during the hiring process based on their citizenship status,” reported Politico. According to the Washington Post, the suit was filed on behalf of Zainul Singaporewalla, a permanent resident who had a job offer from Maricopa withdrawn after he failed to present his green card. Singaporewalla had already presented all paperwork that is required by federal law, including his driver’s license and social security card. The suit is seeking that the college pay a civil penalty of $1,100 per applicant effected. The DOJ also has a lawsuit pending against the state of Arizona’s new immigration law. DOJ filed this lawsuit in July on the grounds that Arizona’s new immigration law illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives and violates the Constitution’s supremacy clause, which states that federal law trumps state statutes, legally referred to as “preemption.” The law in question would allow law enforcement officials in Arizona to request proof of legal immigration, residency, or citizenship of anyone they suspect might be an illegal immigrant. A DOJ brief in the case argues that “Arizona’s immigration policy exceeds a state’s role with respect to aliens, interferes with the federal government’s balanced administration of the immigration laws, and critically undermines US foreign policy objectives.”

Sources:

Politico 8/31/10; Washington Post 8/31/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/6/10, 7/26/10

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