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Posted May 5, 2010, 11:17 am
Tucson will mount a legal challenge to Arizona's controversial new immigration law, SB 1070, the City Council decided Tuesday.
On a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Steve Kozachik dissenting, the council directed City Attorney Mike Rankin to sue the state to overturn the law.
Also Tuesday, the Flagstaff City Council voted to sue to keep the law from taking effect as scheduled at the end of July.
Mayor Robert Walkup told the Arizona Daily Star he was concerned about Tucson being boycotted, especially by Portland, where Oregon Iron Works is set to fabricate streetcars for Tucson's downtown public transit project.
"SB1070 fails to protect the rights of our citizens, puts our police officers at unnecessary risk and is already damaging our economy," said mayoral spokesman Andrew Greenhill in a news release.
"Beyond the very compelling concerns about whether it would violate the U.S. Constitution and undermine civil rights, the legislation represents state interference with local control over our own police department," said Ward 3 councilwoman Karin Uhlich in a release.
Kozachik said he disapproves of SB 1070, despite his vote. "I think it's a bad bill," he said. "But we need to deescalate the whole conversation. The community needs to take a step back."
"We're in a horrible economy," Kozachik said. "I called on (Rep. Raul Grijalva) to rescind his call for a boycott. He doesn't need to be using this posture to interfere with interstate commerce."
The Ward 6 councilman pointed to Tucson's budget troubles as a reason to not sue the state. "Phoenix holds the purse strings. How long before they poke back?" he said.
Newly-appointed Ward 2 councilman Paul Cunningham expressed support the council's move.
"I wish the vote (to sue) had been unanimous," he said. "I understand Councilman Kozachik's concerns about cost. But we need to let the people know that all of Arizona isn't Russell Pearce's backyard."
"Are we really going to make a federal case out of jaywalking?" he asked.
TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.