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Feds file new Arizona immigration lawsuit, this time to protect workers

The Justice Department alleges that an Arizona public college discriminated against immigrant job candidates. The case could pit states' rights against those of the federal government.

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Less than two months after the US Department of Justice sued Arizona over the state’s controversial immigration law, it has filed another lawsuit targeting immigration practices by Arizona authorities.

The new case is unrelated to the one against Gov. Jan Brewer and the state over the illegal immigration law, but that doesn't mean it won't be a divisive one. Legal experts say it further sets up a clash between the 10th Amendment – which gives to states all powers that aren't explicitly granted to the federal government – and the Supremacy Clause, which gives the federal government exclusive power over immigration.

In the new suit, filed Monday, the Justice Department says Phoenix-area Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC) discriminated against almost 250 noncitizen job applicants by requiring them to fill out more documents than the law requires to prove their eligibility to work.

Monday's suit is “stronger in a way” than the suit against Governor Brewer over the immigration law, because it is more specific, says Jesse Choper of UC Berkeley’s Boalt School of Law.

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