Homeland Security Dismisses Arizona's Countersuit as 'Meritless'

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The Department of Homeland Security on Friday criticized Arizona's countersuit against the federal government over border enforcement as "a meritless court claim" which "does nothing to secure the border."

"Smart strategies, dedicated law enforcement personnel, and strategic partnerships with state, local and tribal governments and agencies do," DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said in a statement.

He said the planned countersuit, announced by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer Thursday, ignores "statistical evidence" and "belittles" the progress made by border officials.

"We welcome any state and local government or law enforcement agency to join with us to address the remaining challenges," Chandler said.

Brewer said Thursday that the countersuit will claim Washington has failed to enforce immigration law along the southern border. The governor said the federal government hasn't secured the state's border with Mexico and has stuck Arizona with the costs tied to illegal immigration.

"Because the federal government has failed to protect the citizens of Arizona, I am left with no other choice," Brewer said.

In an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren Thursday night, Brewer vowed to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

The announcement is the latest salvo in the ongoing legal dispute between Arizona and the U.S. Department of Justice over the state's tough and controversial immigration law. After the Obama administration challenged that law, a judge last year blocked key portions of it from going into effect. While the case is on appeal, Brewer said the countersuit will be filed as part of the federal government's challenge.

Arizona plans to sue on five different counts, including a claim that the federal government has failed to enforce immigration laws enacted by Congress and a claim it has failed to reimburse the state for costs associated with jailing criminal immigrants.

A DHS official told Fox News that Arizona has filed a similar counterclaim that was rejected by a federal appeals court in 1997. And Colorado filed a similar counterclaim in 2007 that was "promptly dismissed" by a district court as "frivolous, costing Colorado taxpayers money for reimbursement of the defendant's court costs," the official said.