The U.S. Conference of Mayors, wrapping up their 78th annual meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma today, passed a resolution condemning SB 1070 that had been submitted by Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon.
The Gordon resolution was approved by a strong majority during a voice vote according to conference spokesman Carlos Vogel. Similarly, a resolution submitted by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calling for 1070's immediate repeal and for the federal government to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Gordon's anti-SB 1070 resolution noted the conference's "strong opposition" to Arizona's new "papers, please" legislation, which is scheduled to go into effect July 29. The mayors also supported the court challenges to 1070 now under way by Arizona municipalities, encouraged those looking to boycott Arizona to delay their actions pending the outcome of those challenges, and opposed the implementation of similar laws in other states.
Speaking to his fellow mayors the day before the vote, Gordon noted that ten other states are considering copycat laws to SB 1070. He made reasoned arguments against the law, noting the increased costs to cities in lawsuits, and in jail costs, which he estimated would mean a $7-to-$10 million increase for Phoenix because of 1070.
He also pointed out the threat to public safety, as "victims and witnesses that are here undocumented" will be fearful of arrest or deportation if they come forward to finger "a violent drug dealer, or murderer or a smuggler."
On a wider scale, Gordon observed the impracticality of those demanding deportation of all those in the country illegally.
"We are not going to be busing 12 million-plus individuals that have citizens and undocumented within the same family across the border," he observed.
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Gordon seemed chagrined at times having to address the assembled mayors about SB 1070.
"I've always fought to get Phoenix known in the limelight of what the City of Phoenix is all about, a great city," he stated. "Unfortunately, we certainly are known now internationally and nationally, but not for the reasons that make our city a great city."
After Gordon's remarks, he received a standing ovation from the crowd. The complete text of the resolution is below.
Resolution No. 41. OPPOSING ARIZONA LAW SB 1070
1. WHEREAS, on April 24 the Governor of Arizona signed into law SB 1070, legislation
• Make it a state crime to be in the country illegally;
• Require immigrants to have proof of their immigration status;
• Require police officers to "make a reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of a person if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that he or she is an illegal immigrant, unless it would hinder or obstruct an investigation, and race, color and national origin are not to be only factors police officers consider;
• Allow lawsuits against local or state government agencies that have policies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws; and
• Target the hiring of illegal immigrants as day laborers by prohibiting people from stopping a vehicle on a road to offer employment and by prohibiting a person from getting into a stopped vehicle on a street to be hired for work if it impedes traffic; and
2. WHEREAS, SB 1070 is not scheduled to take effect until July 29, 2010; and
3. WHEREAS, SB 1070 was opposed by many mayors, police chiefs, and other local officials in Arizona before it became law and is still opposed by these officials; and
4. WHEREAS, many mayors from cities across the nation, officials at state and federal levels, leaders of national organizations, and individual citizens have expressed outrage at the Arizona law and concern for the civil rights violations to which it will lead; and
5. WHEREAS, several lawsuits, including those by some Arizona cities, have been filed which challenge the constitutionality of SB 1070 and would enjoin it from taking effect, and those suits are currently pending in court; and
6. WHEREAS, officials in several cities across the country and of national organizations have proposed immediate economic sanctions against Arizona because of SB 1070; and
7. WHEREAS, measures similar to Arizona Law SB 1070 are now being proposed for consideration in several other states; and
8. WHEREAS, many acknowledge that it was a lack of Congressional action on immigration reform which lead to passage of SB 1070 in Arizona and may lead to similar actions in other states; and
9. WHEREAS, in 2009 The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted immigration reform policy which calls for quick passage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation based on five key principles, all of which were embodied in policy previously adopted by the organization:
• Increased border security and enforcement;
• The protection of human and civil rights of both citizens and non-citizens being detained;
• More support for city and state governments which are disproportionately shouldering the costs of the current broken immigration system;
• The use of new technologies to match up foreign workers with jobs in this country that are going unfilled (guest worker program);
• The elimination of current obstacles to citizenship that have resulted in 10-12 million undocumented residents living in the shadows,
10. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The United States Conference of Mayors register its strong opposition to Arizona Law SB 1070; and
11. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors support the court challenges to Arizona Law SB 1070 brought by Arizona mayors and/or their cities; and
12. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that given the law would not go into effect until July 29, 2010, the Conference of Mayors encourages officials and organizations considering sanctions delay their implementation until court decisions are rendered and, in the event that SB 1070 prevails, it is clear that it will take effect in Arizona; and
13. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors oppose the enactment of laws similar to Arizona Law SB 1070 in other states; and
14. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference of Mayors call on the Congress to quickly enact bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation which incorporates the Conference's five principles for reform so that our nation will have a sensible, effective federal immigration policy and state officials will not feel compelled to enact their own immigration laws.