The federal government's lawsuit against Arizona over its new immigration law could quell local lawmakers' plans to tackle the issue -- but some legislators aren't backing down.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, contends that federal immigration law pre-empts the state's law.

Virginia state Del. Dave Albo, R-Fairfax, proposed a law in the 2007 Virginia General Assembly similar to Arizona's law. It passed the House of Delegates but was killed in the state Senate.

Albo, a supporter of Arizona's law, said if a judge declares that it doesn't violate the "pre-emption" clause in the Constitution, he could refile his bill. He added, though, that costs associated with jailingsuspected illegal immigrants still wouldn't be solved.

"We're not a direct deport state," he said. "We can't afford it; Arizona can probably afford it."

Indeed, Prince William County faced significant costs and jail overcrowding when it beganan immigration enforcement partnership with the federal government in 2007. For example, there was about $800,000 of unbudgeted costs for the county jail, including at least $129,860 in overtime, associated with the county's participation in the program,known as 287(g), in fiscal 2008. Federal fundingcovered the discrepancy.

Prince William County, Loudoun County and Frederick County in Maryland participate in 287(g), which deputizes local law enforcement officials to enforce certain federal immigration laws. Every county in Virginia participates in the Secure Communities program, which runs fingerprints of everyone arrested through biometric immigration records held by the Department of Homeland Security and FBI criminal records.

The Justice Department's suit "will fire a warning shot" toward every state and municipality that wants to take action on federal immigration, said Alan Kraut, a professor of immigration history at American University.

But Maryland state Del. Pat McDonough, R-Baltimore, said the suit will not affect his plans to introduce a similar bill during next year's General Assembly session.

And Corey Stewart, chairman of Prince William's Board of Supervisors, has no plans to pull back his effort for an Arizonalike law in Virginia.

"The pre-emption argument is going to fall flat on its face, [and] the Justice Department is going to be embarrassed," Stewart said.

But Stephen Vladek, a law professor at the American University Washington College of Law, said he didn't think it was an open and shut case.

"The argument that Arizona is trying to support, and not supplant, federal immigration policy ... is a bit hard to swallow," he said.