Hobbs Vetoes Arizona Border Invasion Act

March 6, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Democrat Governor has vetoed her first bill of the legislative session – and it happened to be one of the solutions for the southern border crisis.

On Monday, Governor Katie Hobbs vetoed SB 1231, the Arizona Border Invasion Act, which was sponsored by Senator Janae Shamp. The bill would have “ma[de] it unlawful for a person who is an alien (unlawful immigrant) to enter Arizona from a foreign nation at any location other than a lawful port of entry and outline[d] penalties for violations of illegally entering Arizona and provide[d] immunity from civil liability and indemnification for state and local government officials, employees and contractors who enforce this prohibition” – according to the purpose from the state Senate.

In her veto letter to Senate President Warren Petersen, Hobbs said, “This bill does not secure our border, will be harmful for communities and businesses in our state, and burdensome for law enforcement personnel and the state judicial system. Further, this bill presents significant constitutional concerns and would be certain to mire the State in costly and protracted litigation.”

Senator Shamp, a second-year lawmaker, expressed her outrage in a statement that followed the Governor’s action. She wrote, “The heart-wrenching February 22 murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley happened at the hands of a criminal who entered our country illegally. Arizona families are being torn apart by similar devastation. The Legislature did its job to protect our citizens, but Governor Hobbs failed to do hers. Vetoing the Arizona Border Invasion Act is a prime example of the chaos Hobbs is unleashing in our state while perpetuating this open border crisis as Biden’s accomplice. Arizonans want and deserve safe communities. Our local, county, and state law enforcement officers are pleading for help, and they support this legislation to protect our citizens. Their blood, sweat, and tears shed while trying to keep our communities safe from the staggering number of border-related crimes hitting our state will not be in vain.”

Shamp vowed that members of her party would continue to push forward solutions to combat the border crisis, saying, “The Republican-controlled Legislature will continue to prioritize closing our border and providing law enforcement with the tools they need. This veto is a slap in the face to them, Arizona’s victims of border-related crimes, and other citizens who will inevitably feel the wrath of this border invasion in one way, shape, or form at the hands of Hobbs and Biden.”

Democrat Senator Catherine Miranda gave Hobbs kudos after the veto, stating, “We were forced to go through this process so our colleagues across the aisle can use it as an opportunity to campaign. But we knew you had our backs with that veto pen.”

The governor’s veto of the border-related proposal comes almost two months after her State of the State address, where she took significant time to address the crisis, blaming both “Democratic and Republican administrations” for “the failure to secure our southern border.” Hobbs railed against “the same old political games that created this crisis and that have continually hurt communities, families and our state.” Also in the speech, she boasted about delivering on multiple fronts to help mitigate the crisis, including the launch of Operation SECURE and the creation of a Border Coordination Office within the Arizona Department of Homeland Security.

Both Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma wasted no time in reacting to the early January speech, releasing a joint statement after the conclusion of Hobbs’ remarks. Toma argued that despite Hobbs’ attempt to make Arizonans “believe she’s all about securing our border and ending the lawlessness caused by Joe Biden’s immigration system…her record is one of open borders…and she’s continued that approach as governor.” Petersen talked about “major mistakes” from Hobbs by vetoing three bills in particular “that would have kept families safe from drugs and crime” (during the 2023 legislative session).

Republicans are continuing to move more border-related pieces of legislation through the state House and Senate, despite the all-but-certain fate of those proposals.

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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