State Capitol News
Wed June 10, 2009
Lawmakers move to allow local immigration enforcement
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – State lawmakers are moving on two fronts to bar politicians and
the agency chiefs they appoint from blocking law enforcement
officers from enforcing immigration laws.
The measures target so-called sanctuary policies. Rep. John
Kavanagh said many police officers want to enforce federal
immigration laws. But he said they are thwarted by their
supervisors or the elected officials to whom they report.
"No political body, be it a town council or a county board of
supervisors or even this body should to tell a police officer
that they must turn their back and stay wilfully blind to
violations of the law."
But Rep. Daniel Patterson said there are good reasons that some
communities have policies that do not force police officers to
start looking for illegal immigrants.
"In my district, in the south side of Tucson, we already have
very real issues of trust between people and the police. And
police departments, at least where I'm coming from in Pima
County, have unanimously rejected this idea that somehow there
should be limits on local control and how to decide interaction
with federal authorities."
Kavanagh's bill cleared the full House on a 38-21 vote. Across
the courtyard, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a
similar measure Tuesday but one with additional teeth: It would
let local police arrest those in this country illegally and
charge them with the state crime of trespass.