Sec. Clinton: Obama Administration To Sue Arizona On Immigration : The Two-Way Sec. Clinton: Obama Administration To Sue Arizona
NPR logo Sec. Clinton: Obama Administration To Sue Arizona On Immigration

Sec. Clinton: Obama Administration To Sue Arizona On Immigration

Oops. The big story late Thursday is a statement made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview she did in Ecuador last week in which she stated declaratively that the Obama Administration will sue Arizona to challenge its new and controversial immigration law.

The problem is that the Obama Administration has only said that it was reviewing its options -- that is until now.

Few in the U.S. apparently noticed the statement when a transcript originally became available last week. But Clinton's statement was certainly getting a lot of attention Thursday to make up for its initial obscurity.

In her interview with Andrea Bernal of NTN24, Clinton said:

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Andrea, first, let me say how pleased I am that I have this chance to talk to you about these and other important issues. President Obama has spoken out against the law because he thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy. And the Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act.

Definitely not the way major domestic policy statements actions are normally announced.

The Obama Administration's reaction suggested that if it indeed has decided to sue Arizona, Clinton revealed its decision prematurely.

Reuters reported:

Both the White House and Justice Department declined to confirm or deny the presidential directive.

"The department continues to review the law," said Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

A State Department spokesman did not try to retract Clinton's remark and noted the issue had been a concern on her trip.

"I defer to the Department of Justice on what legal steps are available," said spokesman P.J. Crowley. "The president and secretary have said clearly that the administration opposes the Arizona law."

Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tore into the administration.

She issued the following statement:

“This is no way to treat the people of Arizona,” said Governor Brewer. “To learn of this lawsuit through an Ecuadorean interview with the Secretary of State is just outrageous.

If our own government intends to sue our state to prevent illegal immigration enforcement, the least it can do is inform us before it informs the citizens of another nation.”

Governor Brewer said, “I just visited with the President in the Oval Office about our differences over immigration policy, and the one firm understanding we had was that within two weeks he would provide details of his commitment to deploy National Guard troops to the border. While I am grateful that communications have taken place about a possible visit by Administration staff before the end of the month, there is not yet a confirmed date. More importantly, no information about additional troop and border security enhancements has been provided by the Obama Administration to the citizens of Arizona.”