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Arizona House of Representatives passes “Secure the Border Act”

The Arizona House of Representatives passed the "Secure the Border Act," on Tuesday, sending it to the November ballot.

By Danyelle Burke North & Dillon Fuhrman, KYMA Yuma

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 2060 would allow local law enforcement agencies to arrest migrants crossing the border illegally.

HCR 2060 is said to be, "a ballot referral measure which will enable voters to enact meaningful reforms to protect the integrity of Arizona's workforce, strengthen criminal laws, and reinforce the rule of law in this state."

Last month, the Arizona Senate officially passed HCR 2060 in a 16 to 13 vote, with Senator Brian Fernandez (D-Ariz.), representing Yuma County, voting against it while Senator Sine Kerr (R-Ariz.), also representing Yuma County, voted in favor of HCR 2060.

Prior to the House vote, members of the Arizona House of Representatives visited Yuma to discuss how the bill could impact border security in the area as well as the rest of the state.

The vote was 31 to 29 in favor of passing the resolution.

“I was proud to vote yes on the bill," shared Representative Tim Dunn (R-Arizona).

Over the span of two hours, 43 members of the Democratic and Republican parties voiced their thoughts following the vote. Some were in favor and others were in opposition.

“This is an issue not only with the citizens of the United States of America, but sovereignty for the United States of America. And we need this bill and we must act on it. With that, I vote yes," said Representative John Gillette (R-Arizona).

"I have so much more to say about how terrible this bill is. And I have no idea who drafted this because they clearly have shown that they do not understand immigration law. But with that I vote no," said Representative Alma Hernandez (D-Arizona).

Local Arizona state Representative Tim Dunn voted in favor of the bill.

He said the bill is a border safety bill, not an immigration bill.

"Arizona is pro-immigrant. We have 1500 people coming across to harvest our crops. So this is not an immigration bill. This is strictly a border security bill. There is thing in it that allows racial profiling. There’s nothing in it that allows it to happen. This is strictly arresting people within points of entry," said Rep. Dunn.

Dunn said it would not allow racial profiling.

“This is not against our Hispanic folks, that’s what the narrative is going to be. This is about the cartels. The 171 countries that are coming across the border. So we need to protect all our citizens and vote for the bill," explained Rep. Dunn.

However, other groups like ​Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) think the bill will do just that.

"And is a measure that is completely dangerous to our community and will promote racial profiling," said Karime Rodriguez, LUCHA immigration and services manager.

LUCHA was one of the many groups that gathered outside the state Capitol to voice their concerns with this resolution.

"It will cost millions of dollars to Arizona tax payers. There’s just so much bad language in the bill. And that’s why it’s disappointing because we were hoping for our representatives to strike this down now. And now it will be in the hands of the voters," said Rodriguez.

The resolution would also increase the rules of the E-Verify program relating to employment.

Arizona voters will have their say on this resolution at the polls this November.

Representative Lupe Contreras (D-Arizona) gave a statement on the passing of HCR 2060:

"Today, House Democrats stood united against hate and division. We made it crystal clear that HCR2060 is an unconstitutional mess and a costly unfunded mandate that, if it becomes law, will deepen our state's deficit and bankrupt local governments in an effort to duplicate federal immigration efforts. It's a measure that will encourage racial profiling and make our communities less safe. I've never been so proud of our caucus, who stood up for our state and for our economy and against hate, division and politicizing a humanitarian crisis."Representative Lupe Contreras

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona has issued a statement following the passage of HCR 2060:

"This is a dark day for many in Arizona, especially those who remember the devastation and fear caused by the state's notorious 'show me your papers' law, SB 1070. If approved at the ballot in November, HCR 2060 would pose similar risks of racial profiling, harassment, and arrest of long-time Arizona residents. What's more, it would direct enormous state resources towards immigration enforcement — an issue of clear federal responsibility — in ways that are ineffective, inhumane, and unconstitutional.If the goal of HCR 2060's proponents was to frighten communities of color across the state, threaten the separation and incarceration of families at the border, and otherwise cast Arizona as a deeply unwelcoming place for immigrants, they may well have succeeded."Noah Schramm, Border Policy Strategist for the ACLU of Arizona

In addition, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) issued a statement saying:

"Arizona Republicans have taken their anti-immigrant extremism to a new level with this ballot measure that will now appear on the 2024 ballot. After failing to pass this dangerous legislation into law, Arizona Republicans have wielded their power to go around Gov. Hobbs through a ballot measure that scapegoats and vilifies immigrants. Make no mistake – this proposal is a distraction from commonsense border solutions and will only make Arizona more dangerous.The GOP's mission to circumvent systems of checks and balances to place this offensive proposal on the ballot drives home the importance of the 2024 legislative elections. The only way to stop this crusade of anti-immigrant hate and advance actual solutions on the border is to elect commonsense Democrats to the state legislature. Democrats are only two seats away in each chamber from winning legislative majorities, and the DLCC is leaving nothing to chance to flip legislative control in Arizona in 2024."Sam Paisley, Press Secretary, DLCC

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma, following HCR 2060's passage, issued a statement saying:

"Arizonans need to ask Democrats like President Joe Biden and Governor Katie Hobbs why they are fighting to keep America’s border wide open. It's unsafe, it's unsecure, it's un-American, and it's indefensible.Nothing good comes from open borders. Only crime, deadly drugs, violence, unsafe communities, and an unending financial drain on American taxpayers. Yet, Democrat leaders fiercely oppose doing anything about it.Arizonans have had enough and want change. They want safe communities and a secure border. House Republicans do too. That’s why we crafted HCR 2060, the Secure the Border Act, a ballot referral with meaningful reforms to protect the integrity of Arizona's workforce, strengthen criminal laws, and reinforce the rule of law in this state. Today's final passage sends this Act to the ballot this November, so the will of Arizona voters is heard."Rep. Ben Toma

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