In the first meeting under new Mayor Regina Romero, the Tucson City Council will vote on whether to take a stance against the Trump administration’s enforcement of Migrant Protection Protocols that were recently expanded to Arizona’s border with Mexico.
The issue, which was added late to the agenda by Romero and Councilman Steve Kozachik, would serve as the city’s official stance against the protocols, which call for migrants seeking asylum who cross in Arizona to be bused back to Mexico through Texas while they await their court hearing. The policy is also known as “remain in Mexico.”
The item also asks the federal government to release humanitarian funding to the city, which has provided care for asylum seekers.
Romero said prior to her Monday inauguration that several people were disappointed with the results of Proposition 205, the “sanctuary city” initiative, which would have limited the circumstances in which police could ask about people’s immigration status.
Romero said the agenda item declares that “mayor and council will not back down on issues of immigrant rights in the community.”
“We wanted to make a point that Tucsonans are very proud of being an immigrant-welcoming city, that we have roots for many, many years in the protection of refugees and immigrants, and that we will continue to do that,” said Romero, who opposed the sanctuary city initiative.
Romero said the issue of protecting immigrants goes “hand in hand” with her ultimate goal of expanding the city’s business relationships across the border.
She said Mexico is Tucson’s No. 1 trading partner and that the city is uniquely positioned for expanding that relationship due to its location near the border.
“There’s no reason why the city of Tucson shouldn’t be a hub for the relocation of Mexican companies,” Romero said. “I will work really hard and diligently to make sure that we continue working on that relationship.
“But at the same time, we cannot say that we want business and economic development with Mexico and say that we agree with the border wall, or say that we agree with militarizing our borders.”
The council will hold a study session starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, followed by a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 255 W. Alameda St.