December 20, 2016

Mayor’s statement on immigrant rights

(Mayor’s prepared remarks from 12/20/16 press conference)

Vice Mayor Romero and I wanted to hold this press conference to do two things: 1) to reassure our immigrant community that the City of Tucson is committed to protecting the rights and well-being of all our residents; and 2) to make our immigrant community aware of the many resources available to them.

I want to remind everyone that we’ve been down this path before, with SB 1070. The City of Tucson challenged that unconstitutional state law in the courts, and won. Most of the law—not all, but most—was overturned. If, in the future, we are faced with unconstitutional federal law, I have no doubt that we will challenge it in the courts. There are limits to federal power and, if necessary, we will litigate to enforce those limits.

The term sanctuary city is being tossed around—by those who want to wear it as a badge of honor and by those who want to use it to demonize cities as unlawful.

This term has no definition and is being used to inflame passions on both sides. That’s an approach I reject.

Tucson is an immigrant welcoming city. Tucson is a city of laws, and the most fundamental of those laws are civil liberties and human rights. We will protect those liberties and rights for all our residents and visitors, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, national origin, orientation, race, religion, or status—not because it’s politically correct, but because standing up for civil liberties and human rights is standing up for American values. It’s standing up for the Constitution and the vision of the Founding Fathers. The term for that is not political correctness. The term for that is patriotism.

Tonight, the City Council will consider a resolution stating, once again, our commitment to protecting civil liberties and human rights.

The other message I really want to get out this evening—to our immigrant community, especially—is the help that’s available here in Tucson.

Lynn Marcus, Co-Director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the James E. Rogers College of Law will talk about the work the clinic does. They’ve been working with my office, the Ward 1 Council Office and the City Manager’s Office to produce informational materials for the public in English and Spanish.

And Deputy Chief Chad Kasmar of the Tucson Police Department will explain TPD policy as it relates to immigration status.

I would like to point out, before I ask Vice Mayor Romero to give her remarks, that my office has launched a citizenship campaign that offers educational and financial help for legal permanent residents who are eligible to become naturalized U.S. citizens. Information is on my website,

Vice Mayor Romero …