Group Seeks To Make Tucson First Sanctuary City In Arizona

Through a petition, a local group aspires to change Tucson from an “immigrant-welcoming city” to Arizona’s first sanctuary city. 

“If the time is not now, then when? If it’s not Tucson, then where?” asked Zaira Livier, executive director of the People’s Defense Initiative, which is launched its effort Saturday, Jan. 12.

The Tucson Families Free and Together initiative would bring the support of the law behind numerous guidelines currently in place here regarding circumstances under which police can inquire about immigration status.

The adjustment would also provide added protections for some crime victims and prohibit certain collaborations between city and federal agencies, among other measures.

The campaign’s effort is to “build what somebody might call sanctuary for all, to build a Tucson that is a safe place for everybody to thrive,” Livier said.

Her group wants to ensure the city’s current internal policy changes remain through leadership changes.

In order to make the November ballot, the petition must collect 9,241 signatures by July 5. The group’s goal is to tally at least 20,000 signatures before the start of June.

State Sen. John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills and a proponent of enforcing federal immigration laws, said this week he will file a complaint if the measure passes and he finds that it violates Arizona law.