Liberal Tucson votes overwhelmingly against becoming official sanctuary city

A ballot measure that would have made Tucson the first sanctuary city in Arizona was overwhelming rejected by voters in the heavily Democrat city.

The measure to make the city an official sanctuary city was rejected by 71% of voters, according to unofficial election results released by the city late Tuesday.

Democrats designated Tucson an “immigrant welcoming city” in 2012, and the police department limited when officers could ask people about their immigration status. The move came after Arizona passed a law that required local police to check the immigration status of people they believed to be in the United States illegally.

“The city of Tucson, in all respects except being labeled as such, operates as a sanctuary city,” Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, a Democrat, told the Associated Press.

Rothschild said the sanctuary initiative could encourage retaliation from the Trump administration and Republicans in the Arizona Legislature, as well as make it more difficult for police to do their jobs on matters unrelated to immigration.

The Trump administration has sought to restrict access to federal funding for sanctuary cities, which offer protections to people in the country illegally, and some state Republicans have said they would pursue legislation to reprimand Tucson for the ballot measure. The Republican-majority legislature previously passed a bill that allows the state to cut off funding for cities that have conflicting laws with Arizona laws.

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