The State Department included a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law into a United Nations human rights report to show how U.S. rule of law can be an example to the world, a State Department spokesman said Monday.
Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the Arizona immigration law included in an Aug. 20 report to the U.N. high commissioner on rights came up during the preparation period, when teams went around the country gathering ideas for the report.
Crowley said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton included the dispute in the report because she thought the U.S. could serve as "a model" to other nations.
"The universal periodic review, we believe, can be a model to demonstrate, you know, to other countries, even other countries on the Human Rights Council, this is how you engage civil society,' Crowley told reporters.
"And the Arizona immigration law is a good example of how we are debating this as a society. There is a legal case ongoing. And this issue will be resolved under the rule of law," he said.
The Justice Department sued Arizona to prevent enactment of the law, which allowed local law enforcement to inquire about a person's immigration status when he or she is questioned about other potential legal violations.
Supporters say the law is necessary because the federal government won't enforce immigration rules. Critics claimed it would lead to racial profiling.
Attorneys for the state argued that it's impossible to make such a claim before the law has been put into practice. But a federal judge in July sided with the Justice Department and blocked enforcement of the law's most controversial provisions a day before it was scheduled to take effect.
In its report, the State Department does not specifically allege that Arizona's law would lead to racial profiling.
"A recent Arizona law, S.B. 1070, has generated significant attention and debate at home and around the world," the report says. "The issue is being addressed in a court action that argues that the federal government has the authority to set and enforce immigration law. That action is ongoing; parts of the law are currently enjoined."
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday demanded that a reference to the law be removed from the State Department report on ways the federal government is protecting human rights.
It is "downright offensive" that a state law would be included in the report, Brewer, a Republican nearly guaranteed re-election as a result of the legal dispute, wrote to Clinton.
"The idea of our own American government submitting the duly enacted laws of a state of the United States to 'review' by the United Nations is internationalism run amok and unconstitutional," she said.
On Monday, she described the situation as "nationalism run amok."
"We talk about human rights. We have, you know, thousands of illegal aliens coming across our border and suffering under inhumane conditions due to the drug cartel and due to the heat, and, you know, dying out in the middle of the desert. It doesn't have anything to do with Senate Bill 1070," Brewer told Fox News.
Arizona Republican state Sen. Frank Antenorri told Fox News on Monday that he thinks it is an insult to the American people, who overwhelmingly support the state's right to enforce the law, to include Arizona in the report.
He added that nothing in the lawsuit makes any mention of human rights or the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal justice. The Justice Department argued the 10th Amendment in its suit, claiming that the state does not have the authority to enforce federal laws.
"Name a human rights violation. Name it," Antenorri demanded of the Obama administration.
"Tell the people of this country where in this U.N. report you are defining a human rights
violation occurring in the state of Arizona. It's garbage," he said, adding, "I find it comical to kowtow to dictators in this global effort to demonize the United States.
"The federal government, the president should be ashamed of himself for putting this on an international stage with a commission that is put together by countries that commit actual genocide and atrocities," he added.