AZ GOP: no sanctuary for refugees fleeing violence, but sanctuary for guns (Updated)

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The Arizona Republican Party, like clockwork, every two years drags out its anti-immigrant hysteria to fire up its nativist and racist base to turn out the Republican vote.

Drug seizures and arrests made by the Border Strike Force were key talking points in Gov. Doug Ducey’s re-election campaign. The Governor’s Office did not provide supporting documents to show how it arrived at numbers that attest to the Strike Force’s effectiveness — the figures included in news releases and Ducey campaign commercials. Ducey’s Arizona Border Strike Force: Lack of answers raises questions about achievements. Since then, Little mention is made of the Border Strike Force since Ducey’s reelection (subscriber content), even at times when Ducey has discussed border security.

But of course not. It was only a gimmick to get out the Republican vote out in an election year.

It is an election year again and this year’s Arizona GOP gimmick is anti-immigrant hysteria over so-called “sanctuary cities.”

This is actually part of a broader national strategy of the white nationalist Party of Trump. Last year, Florida banned sanctuary cities. At least 11 other states have, too:

Florida just banned sanctuary cities. And it’s not alone.

At least 11 other states have taken similar steps.

Florida’s measure forbids law enforcement agencies and local governments from adopting policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who made the ban a campaign promise, signed the bill into law on Friday, more than month after state legislators passed it.

State lawmakers behind such measures — many of which are being passed in states that don’t have sanctuary cities to begin with — say their aim is to stop local governments from enacting sanctuary policies, and punish any that do.

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Critics — including President Donald Trump — say local sanctuary policies endanger public safety, but his administration’s efforts to cut off federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities have been stymied so far by numerous court challenges.

Supporters of sanctuary policies argue they keep communities safe by fostering trust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. Many of the largest cities in the country have such policies in place.

Meanwhile, more than 30 bills related to sanctuary policies — both for and against them — are pending across the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Arizona:

The US Supreme Court struck down most of SB 1070, the Arizona bill that sought to give local authorities more power to enforce federal immigration laws. But it kept in place the section that requires local police to check someone’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if they believe someone might be in the country illegally.

Effectively, that makes it impossible for any local government to avoid cooperating with the federal government to some degree on immigration enforcement.

Governor Doug Ducey was in Tucson on Tuesday to replay his state of the state address before the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Governor’s Office issued a news release titled Governor Ducey: “Let’s Give All Arizona Voters The Opportunity To Say Yes To The Rule Of Law And No To Sanctuary Cities”:

PHOENIX — During today’s State of the State Address, Governor Doug Ducey recognized the City of Tucson’s overwhelming rejection of sanctuary city status and called for all Arizonans to have the same opportunity to stand for the rule of law.

During the speech, the Governor said:

If anyone needed a reminder, that here in Arizona, we respect the rule of law: last fall the voters of Tucson demonstrated that loud and clear.  

There, in our state’s second largest city, a troubling proposal to defy federal law was soundly and overwhelmingly rejected by Democrats and Republicans alike. It wasn’t even close.

And now it’s time for all Arizonans to make their voices heard, and enshrine it in our Constitution. T.J. Shope has the ballot referral. This November, let’s give all Arizona voters the opportunity to say YES to the rule of law and NO to sanctuary cities.

Sanctuary Cities put federal resources and public safety at risk. Last November, nearly 70 percent of Tucson voters voted against Prop 205, which would have established Arizona’s second-largest city as a Sanctuary City. The measure threatened $130 million annually in shared revenues to the city of Tucson and was rejected by law enforcement and city and county leaders.

T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, said the Governor’s Office asked him to sponsor the ballot measure. So this comes directly from Governor Doug Ducey.

Arizona Republicans are pursuing a solution in search of a non-existent problem in Arizona because it allows them to vent their anti-immigrant hatred at the ballot box. That is all this is about.

There is no statutory definition for “sanctuary city” in Arizona. There is also no legal definition for the term. Lawrence wants state law to define ‘sanctuary’ cities:

Rep. Jay Lawrence, R-Scottsdale, House Bill 2095 would define a “sanctuary juristiction” as a place that prohibits or restrics an official or government entity from “sending, receiving, maintaining or exhanging with any federal, state or local government entity information” about the immigration status of an undocumented immigrant; or fails to comply with an immigration detainer or notify federal authorities of the release from custody of an undocumented immigrant. 

It adds that some places are not included in the definition — particularly those that don’t share information with federal immigration authorities about immigrants who are a victim or witness of a criminal offense.

[But] some state lawmakers regard a section in the decade-old Senate Bill 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law, as a ban on sanctuary cities. That section states that officials in state and municipal government cannot “limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.” Although much of SB1070 was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, that provision was upheld as constitutional.

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Lawrence’s seatmate, Rep. John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills, announced in October he planned to introduce legislation allowing individuals to sue cities for damages if they are harmed by restrictions to Arizona’s immigration enforcement law.

Kavanagh hasn’t yet introduced his bill, but told Arizona Mirror on Tuesday he will do so soon. Kavanagh’s legislation also seeks to create a definition for sanctuary jurisdiction that is almost identical to the one in Lawrence’s bill.

Once again, Arizona Republicans are pursuing a solution in search of a non-existent problem in Arizona because it allows them to vent their anti-immigrant hatred at the ballot box. That is all this is about.

There is “sanctuary,” however, that these very same Republicans do support: so-called “Second Amendment Sanctuary” cities and states. I kid you not.

At the very same time Republicans want to ban “sanctuary cities” for refugees fleeing from violence in Central America, these cultists who worship before the false idol of guns want to make Arizona a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” state. Maybe they should be more concerned about the Second Commandment.

2nd Commandment

Republicans thy name is hypocrisy.

Laurie Roberts of The Republic reports, Here comes the crazy: a bill allowing Arizona to ignore federal gun laws:

Fire up the [GOP] clown cars. Arizona’s legislators are headed back to the state Capitol on Monday, bringing with them a odd assortment of kooky ideas.

[M]y favorite cup o’ crazy thus far is a proposal that would transform Arizona into a sanctuary state … for guns, that is.

House Bill 2093 declares that the sovereign state of Arizona will ignore any federal gun law it doesn’t like.

Specifically, any “act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the United States government that violates Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in this state.”

Who decides what’s unconstitutional?

Rep. Leo Biasiucci, R-Lake Havasu City, said the bill is aimed at preserving Arizonans’ rights.

“We continue to see a steady and deliberate push by some on the national level to place more and more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners,” he told me. “Should the federal government take action at some point to infringe on our Second Amendment rights, I want Arizona to send the message that such laws will not apply here in Arizona.”

He didn’t explain exactly who in Arizona would decide what is constitutional and thus send that message.

In the United States of America, it’s always been the court system that is the arbiter of what is lawful and what is not, with U.S. Supreme Court getting the final word.

In Arizona, it would be … who? … the Legislature?

The NRA?

That poor legislator who lies awake nights worried about pronouns?

It should surprise no one that the Second Amendment Firearm Freedom Act comes to us from Mohave County, a hotbed of conservatism that gave us Rep. Paul Gosar and state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors in November voted to become Arizona’s first Second Amendment sanctuary county, proclaiming that the county won’t enforce any gun law the sheriff deems unconstitutional.

Gun laws are changing? Where?

Gun sanctuaries have become all the rage in conservative circles, ever since then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke went on a tirade last fall, vowing to seize everybody’s AK-47s and AR-15’s – and possibly their flamethrowers, canons and howitzers, as well.

“Things are happening at warp speed and happening incrementally,” board Chairwoman Hildy Angius said at the time, in proposing the sanctuary county resolution. “You’ll look around and say, ‘What happened to my country? What happened to my rights?’ I refuse to let that happen here without a fight.”

Did I miss the part where changes to gun laws in this country are happening at warp speed? Perhaps it was after a classroom full of first graders were wiped out? Or a field full of concert goers? Or a theater full of batman fans or a Wal-Mart full of Latino shoppers?

No?

Well then, let’s say that pigs really do fly and sanity does at long last descend upon Washington in a way Rep. Biasiucci doesn’t approve.

If Congress passes a law, it doesn’t count?

Let’s say Congress passes a red-flag law to try to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

Or our leaders at long last require anyone who wants to buy a gun to first undergo a background check.

Or they ban the sale of large-capacity magazines in a long-overdue effort to at least slow large-capacity carnage.

Under Biasiucci’s bill, any such federal law or order would have to be run by some locally approved keeper of the constitution and if said keeper deems it unconstitutional, then …

… it doesn’t count in Arizona?

And if any city defies that state law by actually obeying a federal mandate or cooperating with the ATF or any other federal authorities, then the wrath of the Legislature would rain down upon them?

It’s an overreaction to a phantom fear

The whole thing is, of course, a hysterical overreaction to a phantom fear.

No president, no Congress – not even Leo Biasiucci and the Arizona Legislature, should they be so inclined (they aren’t) – can take away your Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The U.S. Supreme Court – assuming we in Arizona are still subject to the rulings of that august body – has ruled that our right to bear arms is protected. But in writing that landmark 2008 decision, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia noted, “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.”

“It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose,” he wrote.

Except, apparently, in Arizona, if Rep. Biasiucci has anything to say about it.

“This bill sends a clear message to the federal government that if they try to pass any laws that challenge our 2nd Amendment rights and/or the Arizona Constitution, they will be null and void within the State of Arizona,” he said.

Our very own Declaration of Independence … from federal laws we don’t like.

For the love of God people, stop the insanity! Stop electing these damn fool Republicans to the state legislature.

UPDATE: Judge halts Trump administration policy that allows local governments to bar refugees:

State and local officials cannot block refugees from being resettled in their jurisdictions, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, finding the Trump administration’s new refu­gee policy is likely to be “unlawful” and “does not appear to serve the overall public interest.”

U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of Maryland temporarily halted President Trump’s executive order requiring governors and local officials nationwide to agree in writing to welcome refugees before resettlements take place in their jurisdictions.

“Giving states and local governments the power to consent to the resettlement of refugees — which is to say veto power to determine whether refugees will be received in their midst — flies in the face of clear Congressional intent,” Messitte wrote in a 31-page decision.

The judge said the administration’s grant of a veto power is “arbitrary and capricious as well as inherently susceptible to hidden bias.”

“One is left to wonder exactly what the rationale is for doing away entirely with a process that has worked so successfully for so long,” he wrote. “And why now?”




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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.

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