Citing Arizona’s 2010 immigration law, SB1070, the Phoenix City Council shot down a measure that would have turned the state’s capital into a sanctuary city.
Although portions of SB1070 were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012, the provision that prevents any jurisdiction within the state from harboring illegal aliens remains in effect.
The measure failed on a 7-2 vote Wednesday after a heated debate.
Facing possible pushback from constituents in addition to jeopardizing millions in federal funds, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, a Democrat, made the motion to deny the request, although he said he opposes President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
“We must respect the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision and the rule of law — and I will not ask Phoenix police officers to knowingly violate the law,” Stanton said.
The petition was brought before the City Council by Phoenix resident Rick Robinson in direct response to Trump’s executive order allowing immigration officials to begin pursuing deportations in earnest.
According to Robinson, the motion would have forced city officials to get “off the fence” and determine how they wish to proceed in light of the new administration.
“That’s the only way the Police Department will know how to pursue their duties,” he said.
While both Stanton and the City Council refused to support the petition on the basis of legal compliance, they vowed to re-examine possible workarounds during the upcoming executive session.
On Sunday, Stanton said Phoenix would explore a legal challenge to SB1070 even though it is unlikely to succeed, given that the Supreme Court already weighed in on the law.
“We’re at least going to look at all of our legal options,” the mayor said.
The council meeting Wednesday drew a wide range of residents with various points of view, and they were not shy about sharing.
Voicing her opinion to the City Council, Phoenix resident Maria Castro condemned efforts to deport illegal aliens.
“We cannot allow this to continue to happen,” she said. “Deportations are happening every day. You are leaving orphans at home every single day.”
Another Phoenix resident, Tim Rafferty, maintained that as a nation of laws, the United States must enforce its immigration policies.
“We must be living in The Twilight Zone,” said Rafferty. “This is the United States of America. We were built on laws. This isn’t about being mean or being hateful. This is our immigration law.”
After the council vote, supporters of the sanctuary city initiative began condemning the council members and shouting, “Shame on you.”
The sanctuary city push came in the wake of the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a 35-year-old woman who had been living in the country illegally since age 14.
Garcia was detained by ICE in 2008 after committing Social Security fraud, a serious federal offense. However, her deportation was not ordered by an immigration judge until 2013.
Since then, her deportation was deferred due to lax enforcement policies under former President Barack Obama. She was set free and only required to periodically meet with immigration officials.
Stanton described the deportation of de Rayos as “a travesty” and has refused to allow Phoenix law enforcement to cooperate with federal officials in more aggressive deportation practices.
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