Migrants trying to reach the US near Juarez
Migrants trying to reach the United States are seen near the US-Mexico border, in Ciudad Juarez. Reuters

In the same way in which many Democratic advocates have been seeking to enshrine abortion rights in state constitutions in the November elections, Arizona Republicans now intend to include in the ballot a measure to crack down on immigration.

As the situation at the border continues to be a liability for the president, the argument goes, a measure that garnered traction among state lawmakers could serve as an electoral boost for them, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Concretely, the law would make it a state crime to enter Arizona from Mexico unlawfully. Local law enforcement would be empowered to arrest and jail migrants in this situation and state judges could order their deportation. All of them would be immune from any resulting lawsuits,

State Republicans tried to pass the measures as a law earlier this year, but Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs blocked the motion. In her veto, Gov. Hobbs said the measure "does not secure our border, will be harmful for communities and businesses in our state and burdensome for law enforcement."

She added that it could also potentially violate the U.S. Constitution by claiming what has been the federal government's exclusive power: to arrest and deport immigrants.

The bill is similar to SB4, a Texas law seeking to allow state law enforcement to arrest and deport migrants. The law's implementation has been suspended by a Court of Appeals. Several other Republican-led states like Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma have passed similar bills, with the Justice Department challenging them in the courts.

Gov. Hobbs has denounced the latest initiative. But unlike with the local bill, she doesn't have the power to veto Republicans from sending the motion directly to voters.

Opponents, however, say the bill won't deter migrants and will generate distrust between the Latino community and law enforcement, something that already happened when the so-called "show me your papers law" was enacted in 2010. 32% of the state's population is Latino.

Several advocates and detractors spoke with the New York Times about their opposition to the bill. "Our policemen and women are not federal agents. They're not trained. What's going to happen to our safety and security if they're acting like Border Patrol agents?" said Nieves Riedel, mayor of San Luis, a small border city.

"We don't have the budget. We don't have the resources," added Mark Daniels, sheriff of conservative Cochise County, who has been extremely critical of Joe Biden's policies on the matter.

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