PHOENIX – Intense pressure from community activists and a business group resulted in the death of an anti-sanctuary city bill on Friday. The bill carried by Rep. TJ Shope on behalf of Governor Doug Ducey was killed by Ducey himself.
While progressive activists celebrate the collapse of Arizona’s anti-sanctuary city ban, the average Arizona voter is still trying to figure out why the bill first introduced to the public during Ducey’s State-of the-State address in January 2020 is dead a month later.
Shope, who is looking to make a name for himself before a likely run for Congress, likely has taken a hit in popularity as a result of the bill’s death. Shope and Ducey have certainly taken a hit from “Angel” families.
“Angels” are those who have lost a member of their family at the hands of someone illegally present in the U.S.
On Friday, May Ann Mendoza, an Angel mother, discussed her disgust with Ducey in an interview on KFYI’s James T. Harris show.
“Unfortunately, you’ve got states like California that won’t follow the federal law,” Mendoza told Harris. “They won’t uphold it and we’ve got it a handful of elected officials across this country who are cramming sanctuary city policies down our throats and we have no say in it. We don’t vote on it. They don’t ask for our opinion. When their elected into office, and they have a personal agenda that is sanctuary city policies, that’s what they do,” said Mendoza referring to a number of pro-sanctuary city measures. “We’re just collateral damage to those people and we have to stop the madness in this country.”
Mendoza described what Angel families experience and why they are so angry over Ducey’s decision. “You’ve got illegal aliens who are filing lawsuits left and right,” stated Mendoza. “We have a man over in Laguna Beach, he was a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) participant, but he got arrested for a crime he committed and they held him longer than he thought he should’ve been held and he got awarded $18,900. You’ve got Angel families, who struggle to pay the funeral cost of their loved ones and yet you have illegals who are provided medical care, transportation to the court to face their charges when families are getting justice for their loved one. And we have to pay our medical bills, we have to pay for the funeral costs, and the transportation to the court system. These illegals are given vouchers to go have lunch in the cafeteria and eat for free on taxpayer dollars while they’re at trial, and an American victims’ family has to pay for that lunch themselves. It’s absolutely ridiculous what is happening in this country.”
Mendoza questioned Ducey’s motives, “You know when you really stop and think about what Governor Doug Ducey just did because he’s getting pressure from business… Has Governor Doug Ducey committed quid pro quo? Because he’s protecting illegals in order for businesses to come here and benefit. These business owners have got to realize that this is America and Americans come first and if we aren’t protecting American lives more and more people are going to be joining my organization, and I don’t want them to. I want the least amount of people in my organization as possible.”
Mary Ann started the Sgt Brandon Mendoza Memorial Foundation in honor of her son, a Mesa Police officer, who was killed by a man illegally present in the U.S. According to the organization’s website, “Sgt Brandon Mendoza, was killed on May 12, 2014 in a violent head on collision. He was killed by a 3 times the legal limit drunk and high on meth ILLEGAL CRIMINAL! He had driven 35 MILES the wrong way on 4 different freeways before slamming head on into my son’s car. My son had just finished his shift and was heading home after working to keep Mesa citizens safe and his community crime free when his life was taken so tragically.”
Harris pointed out that the politicians who initially promoted the bill did so because they wanted media attention. “When politicians get made to look like they hate people or groups they lose their nerve,” stated Harris.
“That’s why the media and groups like LUCHE brand everyone and everything they oppose as “hate.” That sends weak-kneed politicians looking for cover,” explained Harris.
Harris argued that the three Republicans who will get the most criticism (and who deserve the most criticism) are Shope, Shope’s colleague, Rep. Tony Rivero, and Ducey.
Harris detailed the failings of each, saying that “It isn’t unusual for politicians to attach themselves to popular issues and this is likely one of those cases. State Rep. TJ Shope isn’t known for being tough on illegal immigration, but he has been discussed as a future Congressional candidate, so a bill like this is great for him.” Except when passing the bill got tough, requiring Shope to lead on the issue, “he caved immediately and then had the nerve to pat himself on the back for trying, as though politicians deserved Participation Awards.”
Harris blasted Rivero, saying that Rivero “spends most of his time working on international trade issues and it seems most of the time when we get a press release about Tony he is in Mexico or someplace at a conference or on a commission or whatever. Tony is going to get a great job when he leaves office; working on international trade I suspect… But you can’t get that job if people think you hate Mexico, right? So Tony jumps off the bill but he’s a politician so he doesn’t want people to think he’s soft on illegal immigration so his fig leaf is to say he’ll vote for it, but only if he’s also presented with a plan to secure the southern border. Of course, that’s not a state responsibility nor can the state of Arizona do that, it’s a federal responsibility and Donald Trump already has a plan, it’s called Build The Wall!”
To Capitol watchers, it seems clear that neither Governor Ducey nor Representative Shope were ever serious about the issue and that they just wanted the good press that they expected to come with tackling illegal immigration in Arizona. It is also clear to Capitol watchers that the two never anticipated the assault that came from progressive activists and they were completely unprepared to deal with it.
“The sad fact is what the left is celebrating is less the defeat of the bill as much as the success of their intimidation tactics, including disrupting the legislative process, interrupting and ending public meetings, shouting down supporters, and playing to a friendly media establishment that covers for their tactics while sugar coating their policy goals,” said Harris later.