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Tucson to vote on sanctuary city law in November

Posted at 12:31 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 15:58:01-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Officials in Tucson approved placing a "sanctuary city" measure on the ballot at a City Council meeting that later went viral on social media.

The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday night to allow the initiative on the November ballot, which could potentially lead to Arizona's first ever "sanctuary city."

Video shows a woman wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat repeatedly shouting that "the city does not change or defy immigration laws." Several people can be heard booing and an unidentified man in a green polo shirt is shown laughing at her from his seat.

"#GreenShirtGuy" was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter as of Wednesday morning with the clip already drawing more than 1 million views.

Councilmembers were required to vote after the measure got more than the minimum required number of petition signatures. The initiative aims to add protections for people living in the U.S. illegally, including preventing Tucson police from asking about immigration status and prohibiting certain cooperation between city and federal agencies.

The council vote comes at a time when a mass shooting in Texas has put the spotlight on immigration rhetoric. Authorities believe a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto was written by the gunman who killed 22 people and wounded numerous others at an El Paso Walmart on Saturday. Many have denounced President Donald Trump for using incendiary words that mirror some of the language linked to the shooter.

The "sanctuary city" initiative is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed by the Pima County Republican Party in July. The suit is challenging individual signatures and whether paid signature gatherers filled out the forms correctly. It also argues the minimum number of necessary signatures was too low.

More than 12,400 signatures were certified by the Pima County Recorder's office. That is roughly 3,100 more than the minimum required to qualify for the ballot.

Others opposing the initiative include the three Democrats running to be Tucson's next mayor. The candidates said sanctuary status could create more problems such as the state Legislature eliminating millions of dollars in annual state-shared revenue as punishment.

There are no Republicans in the mayoral race.