AZ House bill would bar immigrant sanctuary

Last Update: 5:41 am

Under a bill tentatively approved by the Arizona House, cities would not be allowed to enact policies that prevent them from enforcing federal immigration law.

The bill would bar cities, towns and counties from following so-called sanctuary policies, which discourage local authorities from contacting federal agents during routine encounters with suspected undocumented immigrants.

The bill passed on a voice vote and could receive final consideration Wednesday before advancing to the Arizona Senate.

The bill would not require local authorities to enforce federal immigration law.

It would prevent them from having policies that hinder enforcement of federal law.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Tom Boone, R-Peoria, said the measure would "have a very credible impact" on reducing illegal immigration, while assuring that communities are not turning a blind eye to the illegal immigration problem.

The proposal stipulates no penalties for communities in violation.

Rep. Ben Miranda, D-Phoenix, argued the proposal leaves local authorities little leeway to write their own guidelines when it comes to prioritizing enforcement of immigration-related crimes.

"Given a choice between detaining a maid on her way to work or a drug dealer on the streets," Miranda said, "it's clear where we should place our priority."

Boone said cities and towns shouldn't be able to pick and choose between which laws they want to enforce.

"There are a lot of laws that are federal laws, but they're enforced by the local law enforcement," he said. "Do we leave bank robbers to the feds? These are all federal laws." ... A8-DQ.cspx