BREAKING: Hobbs vetoes anti-immigration bill, calls for end to ‘political stunts’

Photo courtesy Arizona Governor’s Office

By Camaron Stevenson

March 4, 2024

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs on Monday vetoed a controversial bill that would have given local law enforcement authority to detain and arrest immigrants with blanket immunity.

The bill offered no logistical or humanitarian solutions to address issues at the US-Mexico border, and instead focused mainly on punishment and incarceration.

“This bill does not secure our border, will be harmful for communities and businesses in our state, and burdensome for law enforcement personnel and the state judicial system,” Hobbs wrote in her veto letter. “Furthermore, this bill presents significant constitutional concerns and would be certain to mire the State in costly and protracted litigation.”

Senate Bill 1231 was rushed through the state legislature last month, and was discussed in only one committee meeting open to the public. Despite public outcry from immigration advocates, business owners, and Democratic legislators over the bill, Republican lawmakers voted  to pass it after blocking members of the legislature from debating the proposal.

Hobbs came out against the bill two days before it was sent to her desk, accusing Republican legislators of pushing unconstitutional, “job killing, anti-immigrant legislation meant to score cheap political points.”

If the proposal had been signed into law, it would have:

  • Given local law enforcement authority to detain and arrest immigrants.
  • Granted law enforcement blanket immunity while enforcing immigration laws, removing any form of accountability for potential misconduct.
  • Restricted aid for refugees and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution.
  • Made entering the US outside a port of entry a state crime.
  • Given local judges authority in immigration cases.

“Today Governor Hobbs strikes a major blow in Arizona Republicans’ attempt to bring in a new era of anti-immigrant hate and legalized racial profiling to our state. HB 2748/SB 1231 doesn’t solve the humanitarian crisis at the border, and it will inflict tremendous harm to Arizona’s communities,” said Alejandra Gomez, Executive Director of Living United for Change in Arizona. “While Republicans have abandoned morality and democratic principles, today is a reflection of the power of democracy and the power of people when they come together to fight against racism, hate, and just plain bad policy.”

Had SB 1231 become law, it could have prompted lawsuits alleging racial profiling, as Arizona’s 2010 “show me your papers” law, SB 1070, did. The lawsuits that eventually overturned that law were filed before it could ever be enforced, and it cost the state at least $1.4 million to defend in court.

Another nearly identical bill, House Bill 2748, is also making its way through the legislature. Hobbs is expected to veto that as well.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include a statement from Living United for Change in Arizona.

Author

  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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