Tucson, Arizona is pretty solidly blue. The mayor is a Democrat, and the city council is comprised of Democrats. One might imagine that if any American city could pass a resolution to turn themselves into a sanctuary city, Tucson could do it. But at the end of the day – encouraged, indeed, by the very Democrats already in office – voters overwhelmingly rejected the initiative on Tuesday night.
After Democrats in city office insisted that the measure would put handcuffs on police, put public safety in jeopardy, and cost Tucson millions in state and federal funding, voters shot down Proposition 205 in resounding numbers.
The measure, supported and put on the ballot by immigration activists who wanted to send a “message that immigrants are safe and protected in Tucson at a time when many are fearful of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies,” would have restricted law enforcement’s ability to inquire about immigration status or cooperate with federal authorities.
“It will put into law that we will not, as we move forward, collaborate in the federal effort to terrorize, detain, separate and deport our community members,” argued Zaira Livier of the People’s Defense Initiative, the group behind the effort.
But city Democrats said the measure was unnecessary, putting the city in danger of lost funding and litigation. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said the city, “in all respects except being labeled as such, operates as a sanctuary city.”
The ACLU of Arizona doesn’t quite see it that way.
“Prop 205 aimed to fix something that our public officials broke – trust in local enforcement,” said the ACLU. “Years of racial profiling practices and attacks on our most vulnerable neighbors have devastated local Tucson communities, separated families and eroded trust with local police.”
On Tuesday, 71.4% of voters chose to reject the initiative.
From what we can see, turning Tucson into a “sanctuary city” would have been a symbolic formality more than anything else. It seems that illegal immigrants can still feel pretty comfortable living, working, and committing crimes in Tucson without fear of being deported, and we’re sure that’ll continue to be the case.
Even so, the vote on Tuesday could be a canary-in-the-coal-mine, showing that even in liberal bastions, voters are getting a little fed up with putting the “rights” of illegals above the priority of public safety.
Or maybe we’re just hopeless optimists.