Tucson Families Free & Together is a comprehensive proposal written and led by migrants and human rights advocates who call Tucson home. TFFT was specifically written to address two of Tucson’s most pressing social issues: Immigration and Criminal Justice. The term Sanctuary doesn’t have any specific meaning in federal or state law, so what exactly would it mean for us in Tucson? And how does TFFT go beyond the “Immigrant Friendly” policy currently in place?
1. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that, in addition to schools, local police would no longer be allowed to ask about immigration status in hospitals, houses of worship, and courthouses.
Why: The current TPD policy limits an officer’s ability to check into a child’s immigration status while on school grounds. Sanctuary in Tucson would expand this protection to other “sensitive” locations. Indeed, court decisions and even the federal government acknowledge that schools, hospitals, and churches should be off limits for immigration enforcement. See 17-83(g)
2. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that local police could no longer rely on certain racial stereotypes
Why: The organization responsible for training local police teaches that it is okay to rely on unfounded racial stereotypes to determine whether a person might be undocumented. For example, a person may be assumed to be undocumented if they don’t speak English, if they dresses a certain way, or if they don’t have a place to live. In its current policy, Tucson fully embraces this problematic guidance, even though portions of it are likely unconstitutional. Sanctuary in Tucson would end this form of race-based policing. Sec. 17-83(h) & (i).
3. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that local police could no longer check a motorist’s immigration status while conducting certain traffic stops.
Why: SB 1070 requires local police to sometimes check a driver’s immigration status when it would be “practicable” to do so. Sanctuary in Tucson would stop immigration inquiries in certain instances, by acknowledging that questioning about matters unrelated to a traffic offense or a crime, is simply not “practicable”. See Sec. 17-83(j)
4. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that local police would prioritize their role as first responders when investigating domestic violence and sexual assault crimes.
Why: When a victim, survivor, or witness fears that they or a family member is at risk of deportation, they are less likely to speak with police. This is especially true where the perpetrator is an intimate partner or household member, as is overwhelmingly the case with sex-related crimes and domestic violence. Too often, when victims are undocumented, the perpetrator has already held the victim’s immigration status over them. This puts victims in a constant state of harm – forced to choose between remaining within violence’s reach or risking deportation. Sanctuary in Tucson would improve community relations with police while uplifting community safety for victims, including children. Sec. 17-83(k)
5. In Tucson, Sanctuary would prevent ICE and the Border Patrol from stopping people for routine traffic offenses.
Why: Recently, federal immigration agencies have been stopping Tucson residents for routine traffic offenses. Historically, federal law enforcement were not allowed to do this, but an obscure state law allows for it in certain circumstances. And federal police admit that, when they pull people over for speeding, they don’t care about keeping the public safe and don’t care about actually enforcing speeding laws. Instead, they want to conduct indiscriminate arrests on our city streets, thus eroding the rights and civil liberties of all drivers. Sanctuary in Tucson would require federal law enforcement agencies to sign a contract, agreeing not to do this on Tucson streets. See Sec. 17-85(c)
6. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that fewer people arrested for misdemeanor crimes would have their immigration status checked on the scene.
Why: State law allows local officers to sometimes “release the arrested person from custody in lieu of taking the person to a law enforcement facility.”. Tucson officers do this several thousand times a year, but they sometimes check the person’s immigration status before releasing the person. Sanctuary in Tucson would clarify that officers are not required to check a person’s immigration status simply because they are being released under this procedure, thus avoiding potentially thousands of immigration checks each year. See Sec. 17-81(a)(1)
7. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that during a traffic stop, local officers would have to tell drivers when they can leave the scene.
Why: Oftentimes, an officer prolongs a stop to tie up loose ends, like waiting for a tow truck to arrive. Sometimes, this is the case even though the traffic stop is resolved and the occupants of the vehicle are free to leave. Sanctuary in Tucson would mean that the driver would be informed of their right to leave and given the opportunity leave immediately at the time the citation is resolved. See Sec. 17-82(f)
8. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that local officers cannot conduct traffic stops at Border Patrol checkpoints.
Why: The federal government admits that Border Patrol checkpoints do not make us safer and do not meaningfully reduce the flow of illegal drugs into our communities. And yet Tucson is surrounded by them. At best, they are a nuisance to Tucsonans; at worst, they contribute to a daily erosion of our civil liberties. With 4,800 Border Patrol agents patrolling the Tucson area, there is no need for our local police to devote limited resources to these ineffective and harmful checkpoints. With Sanctuary, they will no longer be allowed to do so. See 17-82(g)
9. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that local police could no longer arrest people for illegally entering the country.
Why: Under federal law, being undocumented and entering the country illegally are different offenses. Arizona police officers are not allowed to stop a person for being undocumented, but they are allowed to stop a person for having entered the country illegally. Sanctuary in Tucson would prevent our police, in most instances, from investigating whether a person has entered the country illegally. See 17-83(b) & (c)
10. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that local police would no longer be allowed to ask most passengers about their immigration status.
Why: No law requires local police to look into a passenger’s immigration status except when the officer discovers that the passenger is involved in some other type of crime. Nevertheless, sometimes Tucson police officers ask passengers about their immigration status when they’re not required to. Sanctuary in Tucson would prohibit officers from doing so. See Sec. 17-83(f)
11. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that a person would be read their Miranda rights before being questioned about immigration matters.
Why: “You have the right to remain silent; Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” These famous words are known as a Miranda warning. But an officer is not required to read a person their Miranda rights if the officer is asking only about civil immigration matters. Sanctuary in Tucson would change this, requiring local officers to inform a larger number of people of their right to remain silent. See Sec. 17-84(e)
12. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that our city would not help train the already bloated federal deportation machine.
Why: The City of Tucson maintains its own law enforcement training center, designed primarily to train local police officers. On occasion, Tucson extends use of its facility to other law enforcement agencies. Sanctuary in Tucson would prevent our local training center from contributing time, space, or resources to the training of the federal deportation force. See Sec. 17-85(a) & (b)
13. In Tucson, Sanctuary would mean that our 911 dispatchers would no longer be allowed to forward racially-motivated calls to the Border Patrol.
Why: 911 is designed for emergencies. Regrettably, there are those who use 911 to report individuals they believe to be undocumented immigrants. Some local law enforcement agencies forward these calls to the Border Patrol for further investigation. Sanctuary in Tucson would ensure that these racially-motivated and inappropriate 911 calls receive the attention they deserve: no attention at all. See Sec. 17-86(b)
14. In Tucson, Sanctuary would require local police to promptly consider U Visa applications and further encourage immigrant victims to engage with police.
Why: The federal government offers “U” Visas to undocumented community members who are crime victims and who assist local police in investigating the crime. These visas allow individuals to live, work, study, and drive legally in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Sanctuary in Tucson would require local police and the city court system to consider a victim’s U Visa application within three months, thus fostering increased trust among our community and the police.