TUCSON, Arizona (AP) – Voters in one of Arizona's most liberal cities rejected an initiative that would have made Tucson the state's only haven for fear of overly restricting the number of police officers.
This measure met with fierce opposition from the mayor and city council, all Democrats, who said the initiative was jeopardizing public safety and that the city was receiving millions of dollars from the state and federal governments.
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] The move was driven by activists who wanted to give voice to the Tucson Latino community. They said it has spread the message that immigrants in Tucson are safe and secure at a time when many are afraid of President Donald Trump's immigration policy.
The initiative known as Proposition 205 would have imposed new restrictions if the police could do so. Inquire about immigration status or cooperate with federal prosecution authorities.
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It specifically aims to neutralize an Arizona immigration law called the 201
"It is established by law that we will not work together in the further course of federal efforts to terrorize, detain, separate and deport our parishioners," said Zaira Livier, executive director of the People's Defense Initiative, which organized the efforts that made Proposition 205 has been.
Tucson's mayors and city councilors, all Democrats, were against the measure because they were worried about unintended consequences and the potential to lose millions of dollars in state and federal funds. They say the Tucson police have already issued rules that go as far as legally possible to prevent officials from enforcing federal immigration laws.
Trying to impose stricter limits violates SB1070 and other state laws and jeopardizes state funds "The city of Tucson functions as a protected city in every respect," said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. "The Trump administration fought against protected area cities." tried to restrict their access to federal grants. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June that the Trump administration might consider cities' willingness to cooperate in enforcing immigration regulations when prosecution money is distributed.
Both sides stated that the measure would likely go to court if approved.
For supporters, this is an opportunity to obtain court rulings confirming a very narrow interpretation of state laws requiring police to cooperate with the Federal Immigration Service. The opponents see it as an expensive and probably unsuccessful venture.
The City Council designated Tucson as an "inviting immigrant city" in 2012, expressing its support but not calling it a Protected Area City.
A handful of Republican lawmakers have done this, saying they will pursue laws to punish Tucson. The previous legislation, approved by the GOP legislator to tie the hands of liberal cities, including Tucson, allows the state to cut funding for cities that pass laws that conflict with the laws of Arizona.
Meanwhile, the Tucson voters elected their first mayor in Latina. Regina Romero will be the first woman to head Phoenix after Phoenix, the second largest city in Arizona, with approximately 546,000 inhabitants.
Estevan Ochoa, who was elected in 1875, was the last Hispanic mayor state nearly four decades before Arizona and just 21 years after the United States bought southern Arizona, including Tucson, from Mexico in the Gadsden purchase.
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Romero, who is on city council, rejected the Sanctuary City Initiative and said it is unnecessary to consider Tucson's welcoming attitude and policy towards immigrants.