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Tucson residents mulling vote on becoming sanctuary city

Posted at 4:50 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 22:17:45-04

TUCSON, AZ — Arizona lawmakers are preparing a response to punish cities who choose to ignore state and federal immigration law. The decision by Republicans to move forward comes in advance of Tucson's city election on November 5. Voters will decide whether they want to live in Arizona's only sanctuary city.

Prop 205 establishes limits on how Tucson police can enforce federal immigration policy. For example, police could not ask someone about their immigration status at courthouses or hospitals and police could not use a person's race or language as reason to ask about their immigration status.

"We disagree we cross into SB 1070 territory," Zaira Livier, a Tucson activist and supporter of Prop 205 told KGUN News in Tucson. "We wrote the bill specifically so that we would push next to the boundary without crossing it," Livier said.

Fountain Hills State Representative John Kavanaugh disagrees. SB 1070 banned local governments from adopting sanctuary city policies in 2010.

"We thought that would be enough. Obviously it's not," Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh is one of three Republican lawmakers, Jay Lawrence (R) Scottsdale and Bret Roberts (R) Maricopa are the others, who say they will prepare legislation to combat attempts to create sanctuary cities.

"My bill simply says if any municipality or town has a policy that doesn't allow police or corrections officers to cooperate with ICE to remove dangerous illegal immigrants who commit felonies, then victims of a future felony can sue the city whose sanctuary policy caused the crime indirectly," Kavanaugh said.

Prop 205 has its supporters in the legislature. Tucson State Senator Victoria Steele dismisses claims the city will lose federal and state dollars if voters say yes. Federal courts have already ruled against cutting off federal funding to sanctuary cities Steele says and the proposition was written so it can withstand state court scrutiny.

Tucson voters will also decide the next mayor and three seats on the city council. In the past, turnout has been between 30 to 35 percent. With Prop 205 on the ballot, that number could be higher. And in Tucson, every registered voter receives a ballot by mail.