US & Canada

US federal and Arizona officials discuss migration law

A barbed wire fence along the US-Mexico border at Montezuma Pass, Arizona, file pic from 2 May 2010
Arizona wants to stop migrants illegally crossing the Mexican border

Officials from the US Department of Justice have met the attorney general of Arizona to discuss the state's controversial immigration law.

No details have been released.

The law requires police officers to question people about their immigration status, if they were stopped for a legitimate reason and there is a suspicion they are in the US illegally.

The federal government is considering a legal challenge against the law, which is due to come into effect in July.

It is estimated nearly half a million people are living without documentation in the southern border state.

Friday's meeting was the first formal face-to-face discussion the new Arizona law between state and federal representatives.

Arizona's attorney general said after the meeting that his state did not need lawsuits, but rather solutions to the problem of illegal immigration.

A number of federal officials, including President Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, have openly criticised the law - the president himself called it "misguided".

But Arizonan lawmakers say they were forced to pass the law because of lax federal enforcement of existing immigration regulations.

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