By Jimmy Magahern | PHOENIX Magazine
(Editor’s note: Opinion pieces are published for discussion purposes only.)
When Arizona’s cities attempt progressive legislation, conservative state lawmakers often step in.
Regina Romero just started her job as Tucson’s first Latina mayor in December, but already she’s feeling stymied by the actions of Arizona state legislators more than 100 miles to the north. “For decades, Tucson has been a heavily Democratic city,” says the former Tucson City Council member, herself a Democrat. “So we like to take stances on issues that our community cares about, including protecting immigrants and refugees and asylum-seekers… But what we have seen, in the last 12 to 15 years, is that the state of Arizona has tried to micromanage Tucson.”
She’s referring elliptically to a bill pushed by State Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills, that would empower the state to withhold revenue from any municipality that voted to become a “sanctuary city” – i.e. refuse to enforce federal immigration law. Lost revenue was Romero’s official rationale for opposing sanctuary-city status in Tucson during her campaign – i.e., the ideology worked, the dollars didn’t.