The Arizona Republic
A handful of influential Latino activists have delivered a letter to Gov. Janet Napolitano asking that she veto a measure that would require local police to cooperate with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.
Opponents, including leaders Salvador Reza of Tonatierra and Hector Yturralde of Somos America, worry that the measure, House Bill 2807, would further isolate the Arizona Latino community and result in racial profiling.
"It fans the flames of discord and racial intolerance," Yturralde and Somos America Vice President Lydia Guzman wrote to Napolitano on Wednesday. "Racial profiling and targeting a sector of the population based on race, color of skin and national origin will only multiply."
Napolitano, a Democrat, has until Monday to act on the bill or it will become law without her signature. She wouldn't comment Wednesday.
The measure directs local police and county sheriffs to implement a program to address immigration violations. But that provision would be satisfied in any of three ways: by having a portion of the police force undergo immigration training through an agreement with the federal government, embedding Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers within the local agency or "establishing operational relationships" with ICE.
Reza and Guzman pointed to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's recent immigration sweeps, saying they worry that this measure would result in copy-cat tactics by other law-enforcement agencies.
"The ICE agreements open the door to civil-rights violations," said Guzman, adding that HB 2807 would "create chaos in the community."
But the measure passed the Legislature in recent days with little controversy or fanfare, clearing the Senate on a 20-9 vote and the House unanimously. Bill sponsor Rep. John Nelson said the bill's intent is simply to standardize and set guidelines for local government interaction with ICE and immigration law.
"The idea is to have something consistent," said Nelson, a Litchfield Park Republican. "I just see it as a leveling of the playing field across the state."
If signed by Napolitano, the measure would also prohibit any local policy that bars counties and municipalities from inquiring about an individual's immigration status if they're arrested or seeking a government benefit, service or license only available to legal citizens.