A judge heard arguments Thursday to help decide whether she'll dismiss Gov. Jan Brewer's lawsuit that accuses the federal government of failing to control the Arizona-Mexico border and enforce immigration laws.
U.S. Justice Department attorneys argued that a court rejected similar legal claims in a 1994 case brought by Arizona, and an appeals court decision prohibits Brewer from moving forward with her case. For that reason alone, Justice Department lawyer Varu Chilakamarri said the judge should throw out several of Brewer's claims.
Brewer's lawyers said the immigration situation in Arizona has worsened since the 1990s and Washington hasn't responded adequately.
"Nothing has happened in the political arena," said Michael Tryon, a lawyer from the Arizona attorney general's office who is pressing the case.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, who didn't say when she will rule on the dismissal request, said she would have a tough time ignoring the precedent set by the appeals court.
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"I could do it, but it wouldn't last for long," Bolton said.
The case is a countersuit by Brewer as part of the Justice Department's challenge to Arizona's immigration enforcement law.
Brewer, who attended Thursday's hearing, said outside of court that she knows her lawsuit faces an uphill battle, but noted that the immigration situation in Arizona has changed since the precedent-setting ruling in the 1990s.
"I want the federal government to do their job. I want them to secure our border," Brewer said. "I want them to reimburse us for the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants. I wanted them to do everything that needs to be done as far as the invasion, if you will, that's taking place."
In her lawsuit, the governor is seeking a court order that would require the federal government to take extra steps to protect Arizona -- such as more fences -- until the border is controlled. Brewer also is asking for additional border agents and technology along the state's border with Mexico.
The governor isn't seeking a lump-sum award, but rather asks for policy changes in the way the federal government reimburses states for the costs of jailing illegal immigrants who are convicted of state crimes. Such changes would give the state more money.
Brewer's lawyers have said her lawsuit is necessary to help bring relief to Arizona from the burdens of being a busy illegal entry point into the country.
Justice Department lawyers have argued that Brewer's lawsuit should be dismissed because it raises political questions and that Bolton's court wasn't the place to air the governor's grievances.
Last year, Bolton put on hold parts of Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law, which was passed amid years of complaints that the federal government hasn't done enough to lessen the state's role as the nation's busiest illegal entry point.
The law would have required police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers had reasonable suspicion the person was in the country illegally. But Bolton put that requirement on hold, along with a mandate that immigrants carry immigration registration papers.
The judge, however, let other parts of the law take effect, such as a provision that bans people from blocking traffic while seeking or offering day-labor services.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.