UPDATE: Tucson passes resolution against border wall

Published: Jun. 5, 2017 at 8:03 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:16 AM MST
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(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson city council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that opposes construction of a border wall, with a few changes to the wording.

The resolution calls for the city to divest itself financially from any company that profits from the construction of President Trump's border wall.

Tucson is joining Pima County and the Tohono O'odham Nation in opposition to the wall.

But Tucson's resolution takes the opposition a step further by imposing financial penalties on any company that "designs, builds, or finances" the construction of the proposed wall.

Local cattle rancher Joe King called the council's decision "foolish."

"It seems like grandstanding on a federal issue," he said.

King operates his ranch on 50,000 acres of land located nearly 40 miles north of the border. His ranch is adjacent to the Tohono O'odham Nation's reservation.

He said he sees border crossers trespass on his property at least once a week leaving trash, cutting through wire fencing, which allows his cattle to get lost, and damaging water sources.

"It's frustrating to deal with it. It makes me really mad. We learn to deal with it and I don't like that we've learned to just tolerate it," he explained.

King supports the proposed idea to expand the border wall because he believes it'll decrease the amount of illegal trafficking through his property.

Tucson Resolution by Tucson News Now on Scribd

"It's teeth in the policy," said Ward I City Council member Regina Romero, and chief sponsor. "We have to practice what we preach."

The county resolution only goes so far as to "denounce" the decision to build the wall, but did not add the financial elements.

Both ordinances, in many ways, appear similar in language but the county appears to have taken a more cautious approach.

The county version is sponsored by District 5 Democrat Richard Elias.

County Resolution by Tucson News Now on Scribd

The county's resolution passed Tuesday, June 6.

Besides herself, Romero counted Ward III council member Karin Uhlich and Ward V member Richard Fimbres as being on board.

"We need one more," she said.

Both resolutions cite environmental damage, economic damage, and straining the relationship between southern Arizona and its largest trading partner, Mexico.

More than 100 people have signed a letter asking for passage, saying the wall would be an "unnecessary environmental catastrophe" and calling the wall "destructive."

"We need to make sure that we have some sort of teeth in the ordinance," Romero said. "To make sure companies understand this is a very serious issue and we take it very seriously."

How many companies might be affected is unknown at this time, but the city will begin a study to determine the impact.

Romero also cites a city attorney opinion that it could only be done "where it is allowable by law."

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