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Two AZ Cities to Sue Over Immigration

By Jason Beahm on May 06, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

As the debate and controversy over Arizona's tough new immigration law continues, two Arizona city councils have voted to sue the state. Tucson and Flagstaff have made the decision to challenge the state due to several issues, including tourism and costs of enforcement. They are the first municipalities in Arizona to move forward with legal proceedings challenging the law.  Phoenix had been considering filing a suit but that has been put on hold after the city attorney ruled that Mayor Phil Gordon lacked the legal authority to file the suit alone.

The moves by Flagstaff and Tuscon come as the facts surrounding the debate over the law continue to emerge. 

A Rocky Mountain Poll conducted by Behavior Research Center and released Wednesday indicates that 52 percent of Arizonans back the measure, with 39 percent opposed and nine percent unsure. 51 percent in a CBS/New York Times national poll say the new measure is fair, with 36 percent saying it goes too far in its scope.

Opponents argue that the Arizona illegal immigration law legalizes racial profiling and interferes with what is a federal issue. Several businesses and organizations are considering boycotts against the state. 

"This new bill has the power to make a criminal out of me for helping my family and friends," said Flagstaff resident Loretta Velasco. "I will not turn my back on them, so whatever I can do, I will do."

The Associated Press reports that Mayor Bob Walkup stated the Arizona immigration law is based on a misguided notion that illegal immigrants are bad for the area's quality of life and economy. He said much of Tuscon's economy is derived from Mexican tourists who come to vacation and shop. Walkup alludes that lawful Mexican tourists could be fearful of traveling to Arizona due to potential harassment under the Arizona illegal immigration law.

On Wednesday, Governor Jan Brewer wrote an op-ed for arguing that the boycott of her state was misguided. Brewer stated that while signing the law was a tough call, it was the right thing to do. In support of her opinion, Brewer offered three points to clarify the issue and support her opinion:

1)  She argued that SB 1070 only creates a state penalty to mirror what is already a federal crime. She pointed out that legal aliens are already required to carry their immigration papers with them. 

2)  Law enforcement, she stated, cannot ask about immigration status unless there is a reasonable suspicion that the person is breaking some other non-immigration law. 

3)  She assured readers that Arizona officers are going to be trained to enforce the new immigration law in a constitutional manner.

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