Tempe Council Rejects Anti-Border Wall Resolution

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 - 8:53am

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After an unplanned and heated public discussion, the Tempe City Council Thursday voted down a resolution opposing President Donald Trump’s order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The resolution raised concerns about the economic, environmental and international trade implications of a border wall.

 “I just don’t think this is the proper venue for us to be addressing this,” said Vice-Mayor Robin Arredondo-Savage, who joined Mayor Mark Mitchell and Councilmen Kolby Granville and Joel Navarro in voting no. “I’m going to continue to do what I do, what I think is really important as a city councilperson, and that is serve the residents of Tempe.”

Council members Lauren Kuby, David Schapira and Randy Keating supported the resolution.

Flagstaff’s City Council passed a similar resolution earlier this week.

“It’s time for cities to stand up and say, 'Yes, it is going to impact our city economy, our regional economy, our state economy,'” Kuby said.

Kuby also referenced Tempe families who are immigrants or who live legally in the country under Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama.

Tempe’s proposed resolution on the border wall originally was not eligible for public comment, but Mayor Mark Mitchell allowed people three minutes each to speak on the topic.

A few Tempe residents as well as several people who said they came from southern Arizona said they supported a wall and feared increased crime from undocumented immigrants.

“What’s happening at the border is we are infested by illegal aliens,” said Alice Novoa of Douglas. She went on to accuse U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and California’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, of being part of a radical Mexican-Islamic-Catholic movement.

Councilman David Schapira rebutted Novoa’s claims.  

“We have a speaker at a public meeting who just slandered a Supreme Court justice, and I think it deserves a response,” Schapira said.

One woman spoke in Spanish about her own fears for her children in a country she feels is increasingly hostile to immigrants.

The council previously approved sending a letter opposing the wall to Trump and the state’s congressional delegation.

Mitchell, who was first elected mayor in 2012, noted the council has never passed a non-binding resolution during his tenure.

“I think that when we use the power of the vote, we should be voting on items that are within the municipal business of the city and that would have binding effects on our communities as far as future councils,” he said.

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