Judge to rule on sanctuary city legal challenge by Friday

Sanctuary city hearing

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In front of a packed courtroom at Pima County Superior Court, lawyers laid out their arguments for a legal challenge against the ballot initiative that could lead to Tucson becoming Arizona’s first sanctuary city.

The issue has passionate people on both sides, which lead Judge Douglas Metcalf to shush the crowded seated in the gallery Monday afternoon.

“No clapping,” he said. “This is not a city council meeting.”

He asked several questions of the attorneys presenting their cases, but the judge’s decision will not be ready until Friday. He said he would be handling a short trial this week and share a decision on this case by the end of the week.

Outside the courthouse, some in support of the legal challenge, people expressed concerns that Tucson would become like other places they’ve lived previously.

“I used to live in a sanctuary city," said Cecy Wren.

"I did too, and I don’t ever want to live in one again,” echoed Melissa Rogers.

Members of the People’s Defense Initiative, the group that helped organize the signatures for the ballot measure, left the courthouse feeling confident. Executive Director Zaira Livier said they anticipated a legal battle but they’re prepared to take it to the next level if the challenge is upheld.

Even though elected leader, mayoral candidates and the city’s chief of police have spoken against the initiative, Livier said she is pleased with the way city staff at the clerk’s office and the attorney’s office have worked to follow the city’s constitution.

“I believe we’re being fairly represented,” she said after court adjourned Monday.

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