The Department of Justice filed a legal challenge against Alabama's tough immigration law, as the Obama Administration's latest salvo against states who attempt immigration reform.

The DOJ filed its suit Monday in Birmingham, Ala., to halt the adoption of the bill scheduled for Sept. 1. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed the law in early June.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a statement issued Monday, said states can't pass or enforce immigration laws. The DOJ also sued to overturn Arizona's immigration law.

"Today's action makes clear that setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility that cannot be addressed through a patchwork of state immigration laws," said Holder. "The department is committed to evaluating each state immigration law and making decisions based on the facts and the law. To the extent we find state laws that interfere with the federal government's enforcement of immigration law, we are prepared to bring suit, as we did in Arizona."

The Alabama law would empower police to arrest people suspected of being an illegal immigrant if they're stopped for another reason. It would require businesses and schools to verify whether workers and students are in the country lawfully. It also makes it a crime to knowingly transport or shelter illegal immigrants.

The law has also been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups in a joint lawsuit that makes a similar argument to the DOJ complaint.

By Paul Clinton

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