Ordinance in works to declare Tucson's stance against border wall

Tucson city councilwoman Regina Romero. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Tucson city councilwoman Regina Romero. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 10:15 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:19 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Donald Trump Administration is threatening to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities that do not comply with immigration laws.

The first-ever sanctuary cities conference was held in New York this week and Tucson councilwoman Regina Romero was one of approximately 35 city leaders to attend.

READ MORE: Federal grants may be withheld for 'sanctuary cities'

READ MORE: Questions, answers about funding threats to sanctuary cities

The meeting covered topics about immigration and what legal steps cities can take.

Romero spoke with Tucson News Now exclusively after she returned to work Thursday, March 30.

"I came back knowing that our stances as a city are supported by the Constitution," she said.

For the past few months, officials with the city have been shy about declaring Tucson a sanctuary city for fear of retribution.

"Using the word sanctuary or immigr ant welcoming is fine, it is accepted well," Romero said. "There is no clear definition about the word. The policy is what's important."

Romero is moving forward with an ordinance declaring Tucson as "A City Against A Border Wall."

"It divides communities, it's expensive," she said of the proposed wall. "Instead of using billions of dollars on a border wall, that really is not effective,
we should be using  that on infrastructure. Sidewalks, parks, roads and bridges. And a border wall, ultimately, is horrible for our environment."

Not only does she hope to pass the ordinance, but she plans to go a lot further.

Santa Clara, CA, filed a lawsuit stating Trump's immigration policy is unlawful. Romero plans to put Tucson's name on the list of cities that support Santa Clara.

Meantime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged states and cities to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by opting to be sanctuary cities.

"When someone asks, 'Aren't you afraid?' I say, 'No!'" Romero said. "The courts exist to be able to defend cities and towns as well as individuals."

Romero and other city leaders said Trump can't force cities to comply with federal laws by withholding funds.

"The Trump Administration says that we are going to take away community development block gr ants, housing and urban development funds," Romero said. "We are going to take away gr ants that help homeless veterans. That's coercion, that's bullying and they cannot do that under the 10th Amendment."

The 10th Amendment helps to define the relationship between the federal government and state governments.

The next Ward 1 meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5. If you have comments, you can attend or email ward1@tucsonaz.gov.

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