TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona lawmakers are debating legislation that would strengthen laws against sanctuary cities in the state, but Tucson's mayor calls it "entirely unnecessary."
Republican lawmakers at the state capitol are now seeking to add a "sanctuary city ban" via constitutional amendment to the 2020 ballot. They say it's in response to a ballot measure last November that tried to designate Tucson as a sanctuary city. Voters rejected that proposal.
Arizona law already prohibits sanctuary cities, including SB 1070 -- a highly controversial bill that became law in 2010. If passed, the new ballot measure would bring stricter penalties to any localities that adopt sanctuary policies or limit how local law enforcement can help federal immigration officers.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero issued a statement Wednesday against the proposals. The mayor also said the city council plans to take an official position against the measure at their Wednesday meeting.
Read Mayor Romero's full statement below:
“This Trumpian proposal is an entirely unnecessary escalation of SB1070, which has been detrimental to our state’s economy and national reputation. To double down on SB1070 a decade after we’ve begun to turn the page of this dark chapter in Arizona history would be a grave mistake.”
“Latinos contribute more than $50 billion to our state’s economy each year. We raise our children, open up businesses, and pay our fair share in taxes. Super Bowls, Final Fours, and other major economic drivers have finally returned to Arizona. Advancing an initiative that targets and instills fear in Latino communities would damage our state’s economy.
“Let’s be clear: Tucsonans voted down the local sanctuary proposal last November primarily out of fear of retaliation by the State Legislature. Using the results of that election as a justification to call for a statewide ban is deceitful and disingenuous to the intentions of the voters of Tucson, who have a history of welcoming persons of all backgrounds – regardless of status.”
“There is zero need for this legislation. SB 1070 already prohibits sanctuary cities, rendering this initiative entirely unnecessary and redundant. This ballot referral is 100% politically-motivated to bring out a voting bloc that the governing majority at the State Capital believes they need to be successful in 2020. No amount of electoral success is worth the division that will be sewn throughout our communities if this initiative makes the ballot. I strongly urge the Governor and State Legislature to reconsider this effort before they cause irreparable harm to communities throughout our state.”