The Pima County Republican Party is assisting Tucson resident, Benny White, in his challenge of the City of Tucson’s effort to become a sanctuary city. The Party joins White in challenging the effort on a number of grounds.
According to the Pima GOP, it is believed that the formulation to determine the minimum number of petition signatures required was calculated incorrectly and must be raised to a minimum of 12,400 versus the 9,241 originally required. The pro-sanctuary group, Tucson Families Free and Together, submitted approximately 18,000 signatures in early July. In addition, Pima County Republicans believe approximately 40 percent of the signatures submitted are either invalid or fraudulent.
Given the fact that the number of signatures required for the measure to be placed on the ballot is definitively more than initially determined and 40 percent of the signatures collected are found to be either fraudulent or invalid, it may prevent a change to the city charter. The charter change would have resulted in loss of state and federal funds for Tucson.
Tucson, the fifth poorest metropolitan area in the nation, relies heavily on both state and federal assistance. According to the Tax Foundation, in 2016, the states where federal aid comprised the largest share of general revenue were Mississippi (43.4 percent), Louisiana (42.7 percent), New Mexico (41.2 percent), Arizona (41.2 percent), and Kentucky (40.9 percent). As one of the poorest communities in Arizona loos of funds would be devastating.
“It is my sincere hope this initiative is rejected by election officials. While supporters claim that it will serve the interests of the poor, it will be most detrimental to them due to the loss of assistance,” said Pima GOP First Vice-chair Chris King. “It will be devastating to the future of Tucson and southern Arizona. As a Tucsonan by choice, this initiative would put at risk my forever home and that of my children and grandchildren.”
The Pima GOP’s move comes at the nearly the same time U.S. Senator Thom Tillis announced new legislation to protect the victims of illegal immigrants in sanctuary cities. The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act would “hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable for failing to comply with lawful detainer and release notification requests made by federal authorities and jeopardizing public safety.”
The Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act also provides that “any sanctuary city or jurisdiction that refuses to waive its immunity as is relates to sanctuary-related civil action would be subject to the withholding of certain Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.”