Proposed Arizona border ballot referral splits Republicans, Democrats


(The Center Square) – A comprehensive border proposal is expected to make it onto the ballot in November.

House Concurrent Resolution 2060, also known as the “Secure the Border Act,” is expected to have its language struck from being a bill cracking down on e-verify laws to a bill that covers issues ranging from e-verify to making it a state crime to cross into Arizona through anywhere besides a legal port of entry a state crime in which non-federal law enforcement could arrest someone for.

“Your taxpayers dollars are funding this chaos with the blessing of the Biden administration, Democratic lawmakers and the complicity of our own governor,” Senate President Warren Petersen said. “The madness needs to stop.”

The “strike everything” amendment is expected to be passed in the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, Public Safety, & Border Security on Wednesday afternoon. Notably, the amendment also includes language that would make the “sale of lethal fentanyl a class 2 felony with “minimum and maximum sentences” heightened by five years.

Migrant encounters in Arizona continue to be high, with the Tucson Sector being the busiest nationwide. In fiscal year 2024 so far, there have been 342,002 documented migrant encounters, according to United States Customs and Border Protection data.

Democrats have said that the legislation is similar to Senate Bill 1070, an immigration law from 2010 that was primarily killed by the United States Supreme Court in 2012.

“HCR2060’s new language is SB1070 ‘show me your papers’ on steroids. It is unconstitutional, legally unnecessary, intensely divisive, xenophobic measure designed by Republicans as an election year dog whistle,” the Arizona Latino Legislative Caucus said in a statement.

Petersen addressed those comparisons.

“This is truly a border security bill, this is not SB1070,” he said.

On Wednesday morning, Gov. Katie Hobbs said she understands Arizonans’ frustration with how the federal government has handled the border crisis, but says HCR2060 “is not the answer to that problem.” She vetoed the “Arizona Border Invasion Act” in March, which also made it a state crime to cross illegally.

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