Tucson voters reject 'sanctuary city' proposal

Tucson voters reject 'sanctuary city' proposal
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Voters in the city of Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday, rejected a proposal that would deem it a “sanctuary city.”

The Associated Press reports voters in the heavily Democratic city overwhelmingly decided against becoming an official sanctuary city, which would have placed more restrictions on when and how police officers can enforce immigration laws.

“The city of Tucson, in all respects except being labeled as such, operates as a sanctuary city,” Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (D) told the AP in an interview before the vote.

He noted that had the initiative passed, it would have further tied the hands of police even on matters unrelated to immigration.

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The second-largest city in Arizona had already been deemed an “immigrant welcoming city” in 2012 by Democrats who controlled the City Council. That decision led to the adoption of rules limiting when police officers can ask about the immigration status of people they encounter, the AP noted.

However, making Tucson a sanctuary city was apparently a step too far for voters, as progressives had pushed for the measure in response to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s hard-line stance on immigration.

Proponents of the measure said it would have sent the message that immigrants are safe and protected in Tucson at a time when many are fearful of the Trump administration's immigration policies.

The initiative was directly aimed at a 2010 Arizona immigration law known as S.B. 1070. Courts ultimately threw out a majority of the law but upheld a portion that requires officers to check immigration papers when they suspect someone is in the country illegally.

Despite denying the sanctuary city label, Tucson voters did elect their first Latina mayor on Tuesday. Democrat Regina Romero will be the first female mayor of the city and the first Hispanic mayor of Tucson in more than 140 years.