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Speaker of the House Ben Toma speaking on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives at the Arizona State Capitol building in Phoenix, July 31, 2023. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

AZ Republicans Rally Against Hobbs’ Border Failure

Express support for HCR 2060 including Senate amendments

By Steve Kirwan, May 8, 2024 2:44 pm

Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma expressed ongoing support for Senate changes to his original bill, House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 2060. The bill dubbed the “Secure the Border Act,” focuses on strengthening the e-verify processes by ferreting out system cheats that allow some illegal immigrants to evade detection.

In a press release dated May 7, 2024, Toma stated, “I fully support the Senate’s amendment to my bill, HCR 2060. The Secure the Border Act reflects a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to combating illegal immigration, which is a top priority for the Republican majorities in the House and Senate and a leading concern for voters of all parties.”

Members of both the House and Senate have expressed anger over Governor Hobbs’ repeated veto of legislation aimed at strengthening Arizona’s border, especially given the lawlessness shown by the Biden Administration over its border management.

“Arizona Democrats in power have shown us time after time, with every ‘no’ vote and veto of our border security legislation, that they are not concerned for the safety and well-being of our citizens, nor do they have any care for the wasted taxpayer dollars being used to mitigate the fallout from Biden’s border invasion,” stated Senate President Warren Petersen recently. “Their priorities are tone deaf to the realities Arizonans are facing, and this will be confirmed when voters have the chance to take matters into their own hands this November. Republicans are committed to securing the border and returning sanity to our state after the chaos Democrats have willfully perpetuated with our current Governor leading the charge.”

Given Hobbs’ unwillingness to pass common-sense legislation, Republicans plan to introduce legislation for a public vote in the November general election.

On May 1, 2024, the Senate released a scathing report on Hobbs’ unwillingness to protect the border from illegal crossing. The statement addressed the Republican’s plan for a ballot initiative.

The statement read, “In the coming weeks, Senate Republicans will adopt a strike everything amendment to HCR 2060, which will be a ballot referral asking voters to approve the Secure the Border Act. This proposal is based on Texas’ SB 4, but the policy is currently on hold as it’s being litigated in federal court. If upheld, Arizona would have the opportunity to enforce the same measure, upon approval by Arizona voters during the November 2024 general election. The Secure the Border Act establishes in Arizona law border-related crimes with subsequent punishments. Local, county, or state law enforcement officers would be granted authority to arrest any non-US citizens who illegally enter Arizona outside of a port of entry, as well as those who have previously been ordered to leave but are refusing to comply.”

Toma reiterated the goals of both houses, continuing, “By listening to our sheriffs, law enforcement officers, and citizens, we have crafted a ballot referral with meaningful reforms to protect the integrity of Arizona’s workforce, strengthen criminal laws, and reinforce the rule of law in this state.”

The governor reacted to the ballot initiative, expressing doubts as to the effect of the Republican plan. She stated, “I understand the frustration that leads to legislation like this, but this is the same bill that was sent to me, that I vetoed, and it’s not going to solve the problem,” she said. “In fact, many of the law enforcement in those communities were not supportive of this legislation.”

Given the public frustration with both state and federal responses to the invasion at the border, the ballot initiative has a greater chance of passing. It remains to be seen whether the actual ballot language will result in passage or if Democrats will mount a serious challenge to the measure.

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