Published June 18, 2010
The Obama administration plans to file suit challenging Arizona's immigration law, officials told Fox News on Friday.
The confirmation comes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an interview with a TV station in Ecuador earlier this month that the administration would challenge the law in court, though officials had long said the issue was under review.
Administration officials initially would not confirm Clinton's statement. But an official told Fox News on Friday that while the review is still underway, the decision has already been made that a Department of Justice suit will be filed. The administration at this point is just building its case.
Another official said there are still "substantial" issues to address and work out before the Justice Department knows that it has a strong enough case to file a lawsuit. The official said the department intends to file suit, but that any court action is contingent on the final review.
Clinton's announcement was met with outrage Thursday by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the law. Brewer told Fox News she's ready for a fight.
"What a disappointment," Brewer told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren on Thursday, saying she was shocked the administration would make such an announcement on foreign TV without giving Arizona officials the news first.
"We are not going to back away from this issue," Brewer said. "We are going to pursue it, we're going to be very aggressive," Brewer said. "We'll meet them in court ... And we will win."
She added: "The population of America agrees with Arizona."
In the TV interview, Clinton was asked how the Obama administration was handling the debate over the law when she gave away what may have been an administration secret.
"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," the secretary of state responded, before calling for comprehensive immigration reform.
Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have both criticized the Arizona law, but the administration had maintained to that point that its attorneys were reviewing the legislation to determine the next step.
A State Department spokesman said at the time that the department would defer to the Justice Department "on what legal steps are available."
"The president and Secretary (Clinton) have said clearly that the administration opposes the Arizona law," spokesman Andy Laine said. "A number of leaders in the region have raised the issue with the United States. It came up during her recent trip to South America. As the secretary said, a better solution is comprehensive immigration reform."
Fox News' Mike Levine contributed to this report.