Doors to a building below a sign reading "US Citizenship and Immigration Services"

Controversial Arizona immigration measure faces legal challenge

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(Arizona News Connection) A controversial immigration bill could allow Arizona law enforcement to arrest people who are found to be illegally crossing the U.S. - Mexico border.

House Concurrent Resolution 2060, commonly known as the "Secure the Border Act," has cleared the Republican-majority state legislature and is set to appear on the ballot in November - giving voters the chance to decide whether they support the measure that would make it a state crime to cross the border anywhere except at a port of entry.

PROMO Miscellaneous - I-589 Application for Asylum Migrant Immigration - iStock - Eblis

© iStock - Eblis

State Representative and a son of immigrants, Oscar De Los Santos - D-Phoenix - called HC 2060 "unconstitutional," and adds it violates Arizona's single subject rule.

"2060 embraces a 'hodgepodge' of disparate subjects," said De Los Santos, "including employment verification, immigration law, immigration enforcement, sentencing for drug crimes, laws related to city, town and county administration of public benefits, and the legislature's right to intervene in lawsuits."

De Los Santos is part of a lawsuit challenging the effort.

He contended the measure could also cost Arizona taxpayers big - as there are no provisions detailing where funds would come from, and comes at a time when the state is also facing a substantial budget deficit.

But supporters say HRC 2060 is needed as the federal government hasn't taken action to address or impede illegal border crossings.

They also say those who enter Arizona without permission are committing identity theft and taking advantage of public benefits.

Many lawmakers are drawing comparisons between HRC 2060 and Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which was another controversial immigration law in 2010 which critics say led to racial profiling.

State Representative Lydia Hernandez - D-Glendale - said immigrant families, like hers, are essential for Arizona's economy, but contended HRC 2060 could put that into serious jeopardy.

"We contribute greatly to our Arizona economy, not only as consumers but as producers of small businesses," said Hernandez. "Our Arizona international trade, commerce and tourism is a trillion dollar industry in our state. "

Hernandez said the measure, if passed, will only instill fear and trauma - like SB 1070 did and calls it bad for Arizona.