The victory was sudden. The surrender abrupt. At the State Capitol Friday, community and civil rights groups celebrated the take down of two proposals which would have asked voters to make sanctuary cities not only illegal, but unconstitutional. Pressure to kill the bills came from religious, community and business leaders who have not forgotten the impact of the anti-immigration bill SB 1070.
Passed in 2010, SB 1070 triggered cries of racism and world wide boycotts against the state. The boycotts cost Arizona the loss of more than $300 million in revenue.
"When you have everyone telling you these bills are a bad ideas, you need to listen," said Tomas Robles, the co-executive director of Living United for Change Arizona.
Echoes of SB 1070 emerged last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee where one version of the Sanctuary City resolution was being heard. Shouting erupted and a speaker was removed after claiming the bill was racist. "I think that once they started to see and remember what it was like to be in the SB 1070 area he [Governor Ducey] realized it was not a good idea," said Representative Raquel Teran (D-West Phoenix, Glendale).
Talking with reporters Thursday during lunch time at the Capitol, Governor Ducey gave no indication he was backing away from the Sanctuary City Resolutions, Defiantly saying the proposals were not hurting the state's reputation. The Governor said they were a response to attempts to defy state law to create sanctuary cities.
In November, Tucson voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to create one in their city.
"The state is booming," Ducey said, "I think what would hurt the state's reputation is sanctuary cities."
A few hours later, it all changed. The proposals were pulled, with an assurance from the governor's office neither would be brought back later in the session. That was the surrender Tomas Robles was hoping would happen.
"As people, as voters we have power and their voices rang loud and clear," Robles said. "These bills will not be tolerated."