TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In an unusual move, the US Attorney’s Office in Tucson invited reporters in one by one to answer questions about sanctuary cities.
It comes one day after US Attorney General announced his office would file suit against three states for supporting sanctuary city policies.
“Today is a significant escalation in the federal government’s effort to confront the resistance of sanctuary cities,” Barr said.
Even though Arizona was not one of the named states and has no sanctuary cities, a press conference was held in Phoenix and reporters were asked to come in on an individual basis at the federal courthouse in Tucson.
“All we’re trying to do is just continue out good cooperation here in the district with our local partners,” said Liza Granoff, an assistant US Attorney. “Mostly just to increase awareness of the safety concerns the Department of Justice has with respect to sanctuary cities.”
Others, however, feel the move is to have a chilling effect on local leaders.
“It certainly puts us in a position where we may not want to proceed with other voter initiatives and others things that are going to make us a welcoming community to immigrants,” said Richard Elias, a Pima County Supervisor from District 5.
Former ACLU Attorney Billy Peard felt the decision likely came from Washington “to create as much media as possible.”
But Granoff says there is no underlying motive for the new open relationship with the media on sanctuary cities.
“I’m hoping ID does not have a chilling effect,” Granoff said. “That is certainly not our intent.”
She did admit it’s quite unusual for the department to discuss political issues.
“Sanctuary cities are such a political hot topic,” she said. “We usually stay away from political hot topics.”