Phoenix City Council Rejects Sanctuary City Request

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 7:00am
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 2:39pm

(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
Phoenix city council votes 7 -2 to reject a citizen petition to designate Phoenix a sanctuary city.

The Phoenix City Council rejected a citizen petition to declare Phoenix a sanctuary city. But the council did vote to study legal options relating to SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law.

For more than an hour on Wednesday, supporters and opponents addressed the nine elected officials who determine city policies.

Morally wrong laws need to be defied,” one man said. “They were defied in the civil rights movement and they need to be defied today.” 

“This is United States of America,” another man countered. "We were built on laws. This isn’t about being mean or being hateful. It’s our immigration laws.” 

Mayor Greg Stanton called the petition a political ploy, intended to divide the community. He and other council members said Phoenix is required to follow SB 1070 and that’s why they voted against the sanctuary city declaration. 

However, they also voted to meet in executive session to consider possible legal challenges to the law. Councilman Sal DiCiccio called it political shenanigans.

“Do you know what executive session is? It’s a closed door meeting,” he told the crowd. “You’ll never know what occurs in there. You’ll never know what the discussions are because we’re prohibited from talking about it.” 

DiCiccicio and Jim Waring were the only members to vote no citing opposition to the city exploring possible challenges SB 1070. 

Councilman Michael Nowakowski made a motion regarding SB 1070 to “challenge this ugly, nasty, racist law” but it came too late for a vote, according to council rules. He joined six other colleagues in voting against the sanctuary city declaration and in favor of an executive session to explore legal options.

No date for that session has yet been set.

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