Written By Sally Moore

Tucson, Arizona is set to join the left-leaning, progressive trend which has dozens of cities in the United States declaring themselves “Sanctuary Cities.”  The Tucson City Council voted in early August to allow the initiative to appear on the November ballot. The People’s Defense Initiative exceeded the required amount of petition signatures in July which paved the way for the measure entitled “Tucson Families- Free and Together” to be added to the general election ballot November 5, 2019.

Pima County Republicans, via the Munger, Chadwick & Dencker legal team immediately filed an appeal. According to an August 16 article in the Tucson Sentinel by reporter Dylan Smith, the GOP “challenged the initiative alleging not enough valid signatures had been submitted and that the city’s initiative procedures violated state law and the Arizona Constitution.”  No Tucson elected officials are backing the measure, and City Attorney Mike Rankin has pegged potential legal problems with the initiative- should it pass. In spite of those facts, the City of Tucson was forced to defend the issue in court on Monday, August 12.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Douglas Metcalf rejected each of the Republican’s arguments citing that state law allows the city to develop its own procedures for reviewing initiatives- including specifying the number of signatures required to put a measure on the ballot. “The Court has determined that the Plaintiffs’ complaint fails as a matter of law,” the judge wrote.

City Attorney Rankin, according to the Tucson Sentinel article, quickly responded, “We will continue to defend our code and the city clerk’s application of the law” if there is an appeal. “It is important to note that this case has nothing to do with the content, subject matter or merits of the initiative itself.”  Rankin added, “Instead, the lawsuit challenged the provisions of the Charter, city code and the actions of the city clerk- -based on guidance from the City Attorney’s Office–in applying the law as it relates to how local initiatives get on the ballot for the voters to consider. Judge Metcalf’s ruling is very clear: the city clerk correctly applied the law.”

According to the Pima County Recorder’s Office 18,200 signatures were submitted on the petition with 13,000 found to be valid after being reviewed by the City Clerk’s Office and the Pima County Recorder’s Office.  City procedures call for 15% of the votes cast for the mayoral candidate in the last election, equaling 9,241 signatures from registered voters.

Judge Metcalf’s ruling clears the way for the Tucson Families Free and Together measure to be placed on the November ballot.  If passed, a new section will be added to the Tucson City Code which places restriction on law enforcement activities.

Rankin, early this year noted that the “Sanctuary City” initiative would in his opinion, violate SB 1070, limiting local cooperation with federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBO, Marshals Service or DEA, if a special agreement were not signed with Tucson. Rankin also noted in a January memo prepared for the Mayor and City Council members, that parts of the proposed ordinance were legally unenforceable as written. He stated the measure could provide protection against immigration inquiries for people charged with domestic violence and sexual assault.

It is interesting to note that none of the current Democratic Mayoral candidates participating in next Tuesday’s August 27 Primary have yet come out in favor of the Sanctuary City initiative.

The Center for Immigration Studies released statistics in April 2019 which shows a very long list of cities, counties and states who have declared independent “sanctuary” from the legally passed immigration policies mandated by the government. These local, state or county’s have enacted policies which obstruct immigration enforcement and shield criminals from Immigration, Customs Enforcement (ICE)- either by refusing to or prohibiting agencies from complying with ICE detainers, imposing unreasonable conditions on detainer acceptance or denying ICE access to interview incarcerated aliens or impeding communication or information exchanges between their personnel and federal immigration officers.

A detainer is the primary tool used by ICE to gain custody of criminal aliens for deportation.  It is a notice to another law enforcement agency that ICE intends to assume custody of an alien and includes information on the alien’s previous criminal history, immigration violations and potential threat to public safety or security.

Over the past decade sanctuary cities have become popular as an out-of -the- box statement of disapproval for current U.S. Immigration Policy and enforcement thereof.  Readers may recall that President Trump, immediately following his inauguration, signed the January 25, 2017 executive order calling undocumented immigration a “clear and present danger” to national security.”  The Presidential Order upped the ante on the immigration issues raised during his campaign which challenged the “Dreamer” DACA policy, encouraged the need for an impenetrable Border Wall and regularly highlighted illegal immigration crime throughout the nation.

Citing the high cost of unfettered illegal immigration and flawed asylum policies which take services from poor American’s, President Trump suggested withholding Federal funds from “sanctuary cities” which do no not fully cooperate with U. S. immigration authorities.

The President has been highly critical of “Sanctuary City’s” stating that they protect criminals, encourage illegal immigration and endanger the legal citizenry as well as violating Federal laws. His controversial executive order immediately triggered a legal challenge which U.S. District Judge William Orrick declared “coercive,” noting said spending powers belonged to the legislative, not executive, branch of government.

USA Today reported on August 1, 2018 that a Federal Appeals Court ruled that the President had “exceeded his authority when he threatened to withhold such monies.”  Writing for the majority, Chief Judge Sidney Thomas wrote, “Absent congressional authorization, the administration may not redistribute or withhold properly appropriated funds in order to effectuate its own policy goals.”

The Justice Dept. spokesman, Devin O’Malley stated that President Trump’s executive order was a legal use of the president’s power. Calling the 9th Circuit’s decision a victory for “criminal aliens in California, who can continue to commit crimes knowing that the state’s leadership will protect them from federal immigration officers whose job it is to hold them accountable and remove them from the country.”

O’Malley concluded, “The Justice Department remains committed to the rule of law; to protecting public safety and to keeping criminal aliens off the streets.”

Democratic proponents traditionally cite humanitarian motives such as those found in the upcoming initiative in Tucson with the label: “Tucson Families- Free and Together.  The positive spin focuses on allowing undocumented families to stay together, and keep coming with impunity. No serious discussion is made of the deep and multiple costs to taxpayers on both the local and national level.

President Trump is the only persuasive spokesman to actively underscore the real costs. He regularly outlines the risks, the lives lost and honors Angel Families who have lost loved ones to illegal alien murderers. Thanks for his protective outlook and stance on strong borders continues to earn him scathing criticism and a repetitive “racist” label. His resolve seems however, not to have wavered, with his sense of humor firmly intact.

Always innovative, on Friday, April 12, the President famously tweeted his administration was “strongly” considering releasing illegal migrants detained at the border into the mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities,” suggesting the idea should make liberals, “very happy” due to their liberal immigration policy views.  President Trump noted, rather reasonably, “Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong consideration to placing illegal immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only…”

This was quickly followed up with another tweet in which he added, “…the Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders Open Arms policy–so this should make them very happy!

The White House addressed the wave of disapproval the next day, noting such an action had not seriously been a consideration.

The entire matter does highlight the bottom line. No legislative answers to immigration and asylum problems have been forthcoming from either party. Everyone finally, publicly, acknowledges there is a crisis on the border, but no one wants to take the bull by the horns to either enforce existing laws, or pass fresh legislation on a variety of fronts- to actually fix it.

Unfortunately, and perhaps unrelated, many sanctuary cities are quickly becoming synonymous with the problem of mass homelessness. Diseases coming across the border include serious strains of TB, measles and more which are rarely reported. Filthy, squalid conditions becoming common on the streets of California and in tent cities located in parks are being regularly reported on in the news. Human feces has drawn rats which carry fleas sparking fears of typhus epidemics and even bubonic plague in the ripe “medieval” conditions. A March 8, 2019 article in The Atlantic written by Anna Gorman is a good representation of the growing stream of disturbing reports of Typhus cases, Tuberculosis and fears of flea-borne plague. 

Continuing waves of illegals into already overburdened, and cash strapped municipalities can only complicate an already precarious socio-economic situation across the country.

Tucson, Arizona has a serious decision to make in November. Will they vote to hold the law and order line or fall for the “humanitarian” lie which, under the guise of “keeping families together” ignores the crime, the costs and the risk to everyone no matter their race or ideology.