Phoenix City Council likely to reject sanctuary city petition

Posted: Updated:
A petition to make Phoenix a sanctuary city is unlikely to pass during the city council's vote on Wednesday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A petition to make Phoenix a sanctuary city is unlikely to pass during the city council's vote on Wednesday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The citizen petition asks the council to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city and stop Phoenix police officers from coordinating with ICE for immigration enforcement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The citizen petition asks the council to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city and stop Phoenix police officers from coordinating with ICE for immigration enforcement. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The group Puente Arizona is rounding up people to speak at the council meeting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The group Puente Arizona is rounding up people to speak at the council meeting. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

It appears a petition to make Phoenix a sanctuary city will be rejected on Wednesday after city staff warned council members that approving the petition would be against the law.

The citizen petition asks the council to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city and stop Phoenix police officers from coordinating with ICE for immigration enforcement. The petition has two legal problems.

[READ MORE: Phoenix officials advise council to deny 'sanctuary' measure]

The term “sanctuary city” does not have a legal definition, and Phoenix police work with ICE as part of SB 1070. Not doing so would violate state law.

City attorney Brad Holm even issued a memo to council members urging them to vote against the citizen petition on the grounds that it calls on the city to break the law.

“The issue of whether any Arizona city can be a so-called ‘sanctuary city’ is already settled by state law,” Mayor Greg Stanton said in a statement. “I will not ask Phoenix police officers to knowingly violate the law.”

[READ MORE: Mayor Stanton won't vote on making Phoenix a sanctuary city]

“I do not support Phoenix becoming a sanctuary city,” says Councilwoman Thelda Williams in a statement. “The loss of federal funding will decimate the safety of the city programs, and our future.”

A statement from Councilwoman Debra Stark reads, “I believe in abiding by state law, and appreciate that the Phoenix Police Department – and all City of Phoenix departments – set policies to ensure that we do so. I support the Phoenix Police Department’s continued following of Operations Order 4.48.”

Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring have requested additional information leading up to the vote, but both say they will vote against the citizen petition.

[RELATED: Phoenix to vote on sanctuary city status]

“You'd effectively be asking police officers to break the law,” says Waring.  

He says the petition appears to take aim at council members who may have suggested Phoenix be a sanctuary city and their “bluff got called.”

The man who filed the petition says his intent is to “get them off the fence.” Rick Robinson says the buzz he kept hearing was that no council members would step up to the plate and take a clear stance on the sanctuary city issue.

Other council members did not respond to requests for comment by the end of the Tuesday workday.

[RELATED: Police union blasts Stanton's remarks on immigration, sanctuary cities]

Immigration advocates are already preparing for a loss. The group Puente Arizona is rounding up people to speak at the council meeting anyway.

“There is no other way. This is not a drill,” says Puente Organizing Director Francisca Porchas. “Our people are going to continue to be attacked.”

Porchas says the group is prepared to take things up a notch to get council’s attention.

“Puente hasn't pressured any of those city council members in a real way,” says Porchas. “The way in which we have pressured Sheriff Arpaio, the way in which we pressured Jan Brewer.”

[READ MORE: Phoenix mayor criticizes President Trump's executive orders]

You can read the agenda and staff recommendation by clicking/tapping here.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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