Gov. Doug Ducey has added his voice to those urging Tucson residents to reject a ballot measure to declare the community a “sanctuary city.”
The governor said Thursday that all three mayoral candidates are opposed to the proposal that has gathered enough signatures to be put on the November ballot. Ditto, Ducey said, of current Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, along with the chief of police and the county sheriff.
And if that isn’t enough, the governor pointed out that the city stands to lose millions of dollars in state aid.
That’s because a 2010 law aimed at illegal immigration specifically requires police officers to check the immigration status of someone they have stopped if there is reason to believe the person is in this country illegally. And a separate statute allows the attorney general to withhold half of any community’s state aid if it violates state laws.
“Think upwards of $100 million that it could cost the city of Tucson,” Ducey said. “So I’m hopeful that the citizens of Tucson will make the reasonable decision and vote ‘no’ on that proposition.”
Supporters of the initiative say that a declaration would provide a legal basis for some of the policies that already exist in Tucson where police, unless they have some specific reason, do not ask those they stop about whether they are here legally. There also is the argument that it could provide protection for undocumented crime victims and curb collaboration between the city and federal agencies on certain enforcement measures.
Ducey said he does understand some of what’s behind the movement, especially with people fleeing their home countries and seeking amnesty here. At the same time the Trump administration is seeking to erect new barriers to such claims.
“I one hundred percent understand the sentiments of it,” the governor said.
“That’s why I deal so closely with our border mayors, with our churches, with our faith-based community, and with the nonprofits,” Ducey said. “And I think as difficult as this humanitarian crisis has been, you have seen people step up to help aid, comfort and house these migrants in these situations.”