Arizona Lawmakers Approve Border Measure

Arizona Lawmakers Approve Border Measure

( – Arizona’s Republican-led lower house voted along party lines to pass a controversial immigration measure on Tuesday, June 4. Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs previously vetoed a similar measure, so the legislature is using a referendum to sidestep her approval, sending the measure to the November ballot for Arizonans to decide.

State House Speaker Ben Toma (R) cleared the public from the gallery ahead of the vote for HCR 2060, the “Secure the Border Act.” The measure passed 31 to 29. The Senate previously approved the bill in a 16 to 13 vote.

Similar to the embattled Texas SB 4, currently embroiled in court battles, HCR 2060 would criminalize entering the state by crossing the border outside designated entry points. It proposes allowing law officers to stop, search, and interrogate anyone they suspect of having entered the state illegally, a point that has raised concerns among minority citizens.

The measure also proposes to create stricter laws and penalties around the sale and trafficking of fentanyl. Additionally, it would criminalize submitting false documentation to obtain employment or public benefits.

Proponents, including Toma, argue that “Arizonans have had enough” of illegal immigration and the associated problems it brings. He said passing HCR 2060 will allow voters to decide how they want to move forward.

Rep. Quang Nguyen (R) characterized the measure as anti-crime rather than an immigration bill. He pointed out that he was a non-caucasian immigrant from a rural district who voted to pass the law to protect Arizonans.

Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R) applauded the measure allowing state law officials to protect citizens when the Federal government refuses or fails to perform border enforcement.

However, several Democratic representatives, including Seth Blattman, objected that the measure would likely lead to racial profiling, similar to a 2010 law, SB 1070. In a statement to the chamber ahead of the vote, he told his colleagues, “Stop passing laws that embarrass our state.”

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero (D) called the proposed law a “dangerous, anti-immigrant policy,” claiming it would put an undue burden on state and local law enforcement while creating fear, hate, and mistrust.

On Wednesday, May 5, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) filed a lawsuit against the state seeking an injunction against HCR 2060.

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