Rick Romley to Governor: Veto Immigration Bill; Interim County Attorney Says He'll Enforce Law as Obligated
Rick Romley urges Governor Jan Brewer to veto the State Legislature's harsh anti-illegal-immigrant bill.
Image: Ray Stern
The harsh anti-illegal-immigrant law before Governor Jan Brewer is "tearing our community apart" and should be vetoed, Interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said today.
Romley, in his first major news conference since replacing Andrew Thomas, said that besides the negative consequences in Valley neighborhoods, he also has "significant" legal and policy concerns about the bill, which would make being in the country illegally a state crime.
Romley referred to his office's aggressive prosecution of Frank Roque, who shot a Sikh Indian store owner in Mesa back in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. Community members' emotions ran high after the terror attacks, but putting Roque behind bars sent a strong statement that violence wasn't the way to respond. Similarly, the harsh proposal passed by the Arizona Legislature is the wrong way to address the problem of illegal immigration, he said.
Arizona Coyotes vs. San Jose Sharks
TicketsTue., Nov. 1, 7:00pm
Phoenix Suns vs. Portland Trail Blazers
TicketsWed., Nov. 2, 7:00pm
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators
TicketsThu., Nov. 3, 7:00pm
Arizona State University Sun Devils Hockey vs. University of Michigan
TicketsFri., Nov. 4, 7:05pm
If the bill becomes law, Romley acknowledged, he's "obligated" to enforce it. But he's worried it represents an unfunded mandate from the state and that it has the potential to generate abuses of civil rights.
For instance, he said, the bill requires someone who's arrested to be detained until their immigration status is determined.
"What if the computers break?" he wondered.
Romley also said he's still deciding whether his office will prosecute anyone for smuggling themselves into the United States.
Thomas put more than 1,000 immigrants in jail for about three months each under his court-sanctioned interpretation of the state's human smuggling law.
Click here for more about Romley's announcements today.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.