Speaker: Secure The Border Act different than SB1070


PHOENIX — Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma believes a proposed border enforcement measure that could end up on the ballot this fall is different than heavily contested immigration laws that have previously been implemented statewide and across the nation.

HCR2060, also known as the Secure the Border Act, would make it unlawful for a migrant without legal status to enter Arizona outside a port of entry.

Opponents argue the act would be similar to SB1070, Arizona’s controversial “show-me-your-papers” law that was partially struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court after being passed in 2010. Similarities to Texas’ SB4, which is currently on hold due to court challenges, are also present.

Toma told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Monday that the measure, the original version of which he sponsored, was purposefully crafted to be less broad.

“This is a border security bill,” Toma said. “It is not 1070. 1070 was very broadly written.”

Toma said the measure is different than SB1070 for multiple reasons.

To enforce it, state courts would be given the authority to deport migrants convicted of illegal entry. Toma said that enforcement could only happen away from ports of entry and would require proof of illegal entry.

“This would actually require law enforcement to effectively witness that the person that is an unlawful alien entered this state or attempted to enter this state directly from a foreign nation,” Toma said. “So the only place that could obviously happen is Mexico and at a location other than a lawful point of entry.”

The measure also would establish stricter penalties for selling fentanyl and for falsifying documents while applying for public benefits or employment.

“The reality of it is the other two parts of this are quite important and those will be effective right away,” Toma said. “Those are not being litigated to my knowledge anywhere.”

The Legislature can send a measure to voters by passing a resolution without the governor’s signature. Republicans hold the majority in both chambers, so they can make the Secure the Border Act a voter initiative without bipartisan support.

The Arizona Senate is expected to vote on the act next week.

The House would still have to pass version approved by the Senate to for the measure to make the Nov. 5 ballot.