After our campaign for Prop 205, known as Tucson Families Free and Together, successfully debunked all the fearmongering and false claims of opponents, the leaders in the city and police department came up with more diabolical ones. But the latest one actually makes the case for voting #YESon205.
They said Tucson would lose millions of dollars in State shared revenue. We said that Constitutional experts at the UofA and the ACLU said that the law that is used to withhold state shared revenue doesn’t apply to constitutionally protected citizen initiatives.
They said not asking someone’s immigration status will protect murderers and child molesters. We pointed out that their racist fear mongering was unfounded because if someone is charged with a crime, their immigration status is checked when they are booked into jail. They clearly know this but spread the misinformation anyway using their trust and goodwill in the community to mislead.
Then they said murderers, rapists and child molesters will be free to roam the streets because they will lose access to databases and joint task forces. We pointed out that Prop 205 does nothing to end those collaborations, only preventing collaborations with ICE and Border Patrol for the purpose of immigration enforcement.
They said Tucson would lose hundreds of millions in Federal funding. The campaign and other experts pointed out that time and again, the Trump Administration has been blocked by federal courts that ruled that withholding funds to Sanctuary cities is unconstitutional. We educated voters that zero dollars have been withheld despite years of attempts by the administration to punish cities, counties and states that won’t comply with their deportation machine. Then they said that Tucson could lose potential future funds through small discretionary grants that the city may wish to apply to receive in future years. They are using a 9th Circuit Court ruling that stated that the Federal Government can use the willingness of a city to collaborate with ICE and Border Patrol as one of many measures in determining awards of these grants. What they failed to mention is that the court specifically said that a community having sanctuary policies cannot be the deciding factor in determining the award that is given to one in three who apply.
These are low dollar policing grants called COPS grants and their purpose it to promote community policing which is the practice of having police assigned to neighborhoods so that they become familiar with the inhabitants of that community. Community policing is intended to increase trust in communities between the people who live there and the police in order to keep crime down, prevent overpolicing and avoid police violence. Trump having realized his losing strategy, changed his system to give more points to cities that use COPS grants to pursue his immigration agenda.
Ironically, the chief of police is using the idea of possibly losing out on these small grants as a means to convince voters that Sanctuary policies, the same policies he said in 2017 would increase trust in the community and make policing easier, is worth not instituting these policies. That’s some pretzel logic.
Mirroring the chief of police in a recent official city memo to Tucsonans, Steve Kozachik says that if Tucson votes yes on 205, the Trump Administration can use it to withhold future potential policing grants because we will have to disclose that we have policies in place to separate our municipal policing from immigration enforcement. That separation is wanted by all except xenopbobic anti-immigrant opponents who won’t settle for anything short of rounding up all people in Tucson without documentation and “sending them back where they came from.”
But Kozachik goes on to cite 2 Federal laws that have been ruled unconstitutional in multiple courts as the basis for the Trump Administration to scrutinize our ability to qualify for those grants.
So the leaders of Tucson are saying that these protections make us unqualified for Trump money intended to police our immigrant communities.
Our city leaders are saying that they are willing to sell out our community and the safety of our most vulnerable in a competition for policing grants that would provide more police to collaborate with ICE and Border Patrol.
Opponents say Prop 205 is not necessary because the police general orders already protect undocumented migrants. This is untrue as pointed out by the ACLU of Arizona, the organization that tracks civil rights violations of police in Arizona and has endorsed Prop 205.
But by our opponents’ logic, our police general orders are already too friendly to immigrants to qualify for these grants. This is exactly why we need to put the increased protections in Prop 205 into law that only voters can remove.
What is to say that down the road, these same leaders won’t remove some language from the general orders in order to appear less immigrant friendly in some sick race to the bottom for funds?
Kozachik is asking Tucson to appeal to a cruel and anti-immigrant Trump administration that has already demonstrated its willingness to cage children, withhold food and water, spray tear gas, withhold due process and inspire right wing zealots to hunt down and open fire on migrant communities. How can we even consider adding more police to uphold that flawed system at the cost of protecting our most vulnerable community members who are routinely harassed, taken advantage of and live in fear already?
Please do not fall for the fear mongering scare tactics used by desperate politicians who are scrambling to hide the exposed gaps between who they say they are and what they have actually accomplished to protect our families.
Vote Yes On 205.