Court to settle Ariz. im­mi­gra­tion fight

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

TheAri­zon­aSupre­meCourtwill de­cide this month whether a pe­ti­tion brought by a cit­i­zens group seek­ing to end of a pol­icy bar­ring Phoenix po­lice of­fi­cers from en­forc­ing fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion laws will ever go be­fore vot­ers.

Mem­bers of “Pro­tect Our City” have called for an end to the pol­icy, call­ing in­stead for it to be changed to re­quire po­lice of­fi­cers, along with all other city em­ploy­ees, to as­sist fed­eral of­fi­cials in en­forc­ing U.S. im­mi­gra­tion law.

But Mari­copa County Su­pe­rior Court Judge Janet Bar­ton pulled the pe­ti­tion from the Nov. 7 bal­lot, say­ing in Septem­ber that a city char­ter pro­vi­sion giv­ing pe­ti­tion back­ers ex­tra time to get the re­quired sig­na­tures con­flicted with state law.

Judge Bar­ton said the pe­ti­tion­ers were 600 sig­na­tures short of qual­i­fy­ing the ini­tia­tive for the bal­lot.

The rul­ing was chal­lenged, and thes­tateSupre­meCour­ti­s­ex­pected to hear ar­gu­ments on Jan. 11.

Randy Pullen, a Repub­li­can Na­tion­alCom­mit­tee­man­fromAri­zona and the “Pro­tect Our City” or­ga­nizer, told The Wash­ing­ton Times that as a “sanc­tu­ary city,” Phoenix was con­don­ing il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, adding that “when po­lice come across an il­le­gal alien, they need to be de­tained and re­ported.”

Phoenix is one of sev­eral cities in the United States listed as a so­called “sanc­tu­ary city,” mean­ing it does not en­force fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion laws. Its char­ter says the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and en­force­ment of im­mi­gra­tion laws is the busi­ness of the Depart­mentofHome­landSe­cu­rity.

In Phoenix, po­lice of­fi­cers are not al­lowed to stop peo­ple to de­ter­mine their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus, ar­rest peo­ple when the only vi­o­la­tion is an in­frac­tion of fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion law or no­tify Home­land Se­cu­rity that an il­le­gal alien wit­nessed or was the vic­tim of a crime, sur­faced dur­ing a fam­ily dis­tur­bance, re­ceived a traf­fic ticket or sought med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

Mr.Pullen’smea­sure­would­have re­quired all Phoenix of­fi­cials, agen­ciesand­per­son­nel­to­co­op­er­ate­with and as­sist fed­eral au­thor­i­ties in en­forc­ing im­mi­gra­tion laws within the city’s bound­aries. In ad­di­tion, it would have man­dated that no Phoenix of­fi­cial, per­son­nel or agent could be pro­hib­ited from send­ing, re­ceiv­ing or main­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing a per­son’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus — law­ful or un­law­ful — orex­chang­ingth­at­in­for­ma­tion­with fed­eral, state or lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

Phoenix Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cials have said their of­fi­cers are not trained in im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment, al­though they have a “very strong work­ing re­la­tion­ship” with im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties. City Coun­cil mem­bers have balked at divert­ing funds from fight­ing crime to round­ing up il­le­gal aliens, and Mayor Phil Gor­don said he did not in­tend to turn his po­lice of­fi­cers into im­mi­gra­tion en­forcers.

Ari­zona Gov. Janet Napoli­tano, a Demo­crat, ve­toed leg­is­la­tion this year that would have em­pow­ered law-en­force­ment of­fi­cers in the state to ques­tion the im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus of any­one law­fully de­tained and made it a mis­de­meanor for il­le­gal aliens to en­ter Ari­zona and a felony if they were ap­pre­hended twice.

To qual­ify for the Nov. 7 bal­lot, the pe­ti­tion­ers needed 14,844 valid sig­na­tures. but fell short by 600 — al­though­pro­po­nentscite­d­i­nalaw­suit a city char­ter that al­lows an ex­tra 10 days to turn in ad­di­tional sig­na­tures if they came up short.

Judge Bar­ton ruled that even though Phoenix vot­ers had ap­proved the so-called “sec­ond chance” char­ter pro­vi­sion in the 1970s, city laws could not con­flict with state laws, which give res­i­dentson­ly­oneshot­to­gath­ere­nough pe­ti­tion sig­na­tures.

Mr.Pullen,akey­backerofPropo­si­tion 200, a statewide ini­tia­tive passed in 2005 re­quir­ing ver­i­fied iden­ti­fi­ca­tion­forci­t­i­zen­stovote,had come up with the nec­es­sary sig­na­tures­dur­ingthe10-day­gra­cepe­riod. The pe­ti­tion was chal­lenged by His­pan­i­clead­er­sinthecom­mu­ni­ty­who suc­cess­fully filed a law­suit to block it from be­ing placed on the bal­lot.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.