Bienvenidos a Tucson!

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Look out, border patrol, the city of Tucson is now officially an “Immigrant Welcoming City!” 

At a recent City Council meeting, council members voted six to one to announce an official, city-wide opposition to Senate Bill 1070. The city, which has unofficially opposed the anti-immigration reform bill all along, passed a resolution that it hopes will send a strong message to Tucson residents: You needn’t live in fear.

The resolution was originally suggested by Councilwoman Regina Romero, who was inspired by religious leaders who felt that Tucsonians were reluctant to venture far from home after the Supreme Court upheld the random-search section of SB 1070, a section that allowed police officers to demand proof of citizenship from residents. The “papers, please” section was, the clergy told Romero, adversely affecting church attendance. “We don’t want people to feel fear when traveling to work, to school, to the store,” Romero told the Council. “We also don’t want people to be afraid to call the police to report a crime.”

The first step in ending fear, according to Romero, will be to commence official meetings with city officials, the immigrant community, local businesses and the Police Department to determine the best way to make Tucson more welcoming. Council members will likely use the Dayton, Ohio, Business District as a model for the resolution. The Dayton model created a business and cultural section of town that caters to immigrants and mandates municipal identification cards. It’s a controversial experiment that has had its problems, among them an immigrant community that resists registration for ID cards and the suggestion of racial segregation.

Regardless of the model used, Romero insists that the new resolution can heal Tucson’s immigrant community, and bring the city itself closer together. 

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