Arizona Senate Passes Ballot Measure Allowing Arrests of Illegal Immigrants

Arizona Senate Passes Ballot Measure Allowing Arrests of Illegal Immigrants
Illegal immigrants wait to be processed by U.S. border authorities after spending the night in the desert in Lukeville, Ariz., on Dec. 5, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The Arizona Senate approved on Wednesday a proposed ballot measure that would make it a state crime to enter Arizona’s southern border from anywhere outside of an official port of entry.

The ballot measure, House Concurrent Resolution 2060, was approved on a 16-13 party-line vote on May 22. It would grant local law enforcement officers the authority to arrest illegal immigrants.

“Democrat legislators, [Arizona Gov.] Katie Hobbs and [President] Joe Biden are failing Arizona. We share your concern,” the Arizona Senate Republican Caucus stated on the social media platform X.

“You will have the opportunity to take border security matters into your own hands this November with the Secure the Border Act. HCR 2060 passed the Senate and now heads to the House for final approval before hitting the ballot.”

Under HCR2060, state judges could order illegal immigrants to return to their home country after completing a term of incarceration or imprisonment. A court may dismiss a pending charge should the person agree to return to their home country.

The bill would allow state agencies to use a federal database to verify the validity of documents provided by individuals applying for public benefits and increase punishments for those convicted of selling fentanyl.

HCR2060 states that “due to weaknesses in immigration enforcement, a public safety crisis is occurring in Arizona, caused by transnational cartels engaging in rampant human trafficking and drug smuggling across this state’s southern border.”

Ms. Hobbs had vetoed a similar bill in March. She criticized the Senate’s passage of HCR2060 and called on the House of Representatives to oppose the measure, warning that it could harm businesses in Arizona.

“The Senate’s vote to pass HCR2060 is a stunt to score cheap political points,” Ms. Hobbs stated on X.

“This ballot referral will kill jobs, demonize our communities, and make it harder for law enforcement to keep us safe. I urge the House to do the right thing and oppose this measure,” the governor added.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona also opposed the proposed measure, calling it an “anti-immigrant” ballot referral that “could be easily weaponized against communities of color.”

“This bill ignores key parts of federal law, stripping away basic safeguards that ensure people fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries have access to asylum,” Noah Schramm, border policy strategist for the ACLU of Arizona, said in a press release.

“It opens the door to unlawful policing and invites racial profiling, threatening communities across the state,” he added.

Data released by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicates that the Tucson sector—which includes most of the 372-mile-long southern Arizona border—had the highest number of border encounters during the first four months of fiscal year 2024, with over 373,000 border encounters recorded.

NTD Photo
Illegal immigrants line up at a remote U.S. Border Patrol processing center after crossing the U.S.–Mexico border, in Lukeville, Ariz., on Dec. 7, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Ms. Hobbs has blamed the crisis at the border on “Washington’s ongoing failure to secure our southern border,” which she said was a failure “decades in the making under both Democratic and Republican administrations.”

“When my fellow Arizonans gave me the honor of this office, I pledged to not play the same old political games that created this crisis, and that have continually hurt communities, families, and our state,” she said in her 2024 State of the State address.

“No one understands the misguided efforts of the past more than our neighbors, sheriffs, small business owners, and local law enforcement near the border who work every day to offer solutions where the federal government has failed,” Ms. Hobbs added.

Matt McGregor contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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