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Nine police chiefs to challenge Arizona immigration law

Top Justice Department officials have drafted a legal challenge asserting that Arizona’s controversial immigration law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government’s authority to police the nation’s borders, sources said Wednesday.

At the same time, the government officials said, the department’s civil rights section is considering possible legal action against the law on the basis that it amounts to racial profiling of Latinos who are legally in Arizona but conceivably could be asked to provide documents proving their citizenship.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. met Wednesday with nine top police chiefs who object to the Arizona legislation and promised them he would act on the recommendations soon, a spokesman said.

The police chiefs urged Holder and the Obama administration, which has grave reservations about the Arizona measure, to stop the law. The chiefs said it would seriously hamper local police work if officers had to serve as border patrol policemen.

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