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GOP goes around governor to put immigration enforcement in the hands of voters

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An Arizona push to work around Gov. Katie Hobbs and put tougher immigration laws in front of the voters to decide cleared a major hurdle in the State Senate.

“The governor has openly said the border is not secure. She’s said the federal government’s failing us, the Biden administration’s failing us, but unfortunately, it’s just words,” Arizona Senate President Warren Peterson told Fox News Digital. “She hasn’t proposed anything, she hasn’t given us anything for the border.”

Peterson’s comments come after an Arizona Senate committee approved the “Secure Border Act,” or HCR 2060, on Wednesday, coming one step closer to putting the question in front of voters this November.

BORDER STATE GOP PUSHES TO DEFY WHITE HOUSE, ADOPT TX-STYLE IMMIGRATION LAW

Migrants trying to enter the U.S. at the southern border

Immigrants wait for soup donated by the Yuma County Abolition group after crossing the border from Mexico on May 23, 2022, in San Luis, Arizona. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The bill, which is modeled after Texas’ controversial SB 4, would make it a crime to illegally cross the border. Like the Texas law, which is critically at the center of an ongoing court battle, the bill would give local law enforcement the ability to enforce immigration laws.

“This is truly a border security bill,” said Peterson, the top Republican in the Arizona Senate. “It allows law enforcement to if they see somebody crossing the border illegally, they’re ale to arrest them, detain them, and put them through the judicial process.”

Peterson explained that the bill addresses three key issues; border security, addressing the fentanyl crisis in the state, and making sure that those who are receiving government benefits are in the country legally.

LARGE MAJORITY OF ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSINGS SHIFT TO ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA, PIVOTING AWAY FROM TEXAS

The Arizona lawmaker also stressed that the new bill is much different than SB 1070, a controversial 2010 immigration law in the state that was partially struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012.

That bill allowed law enforcement in any part of the state to be questioned about their immigration status, Peterson explained, while this bill is more narrowly focused on securing the border.

By putting the question in front of the voters, Arizona Republicans could effectively bypass the state’s Democratic governor, who vetoed a similar bill in March that made it a state crime to illegally cross the border.

“This bill does not secure our border. On the contrary, it will be harmful for businesses and communities in our state and a burden for law enforcement personnel,” Hobbs said at the time. “I know there’s frustration about the federal government’s failure to secure our border, but this bill is not the solution.”

Border Arrivals

A group of migrants walk to a van as hundreds of migrants gather along the border Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, in Lukeville, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

CLICK HERE FOR MORE COVERAGE OF THE BORDER SECURITY CRISIS

Hobbs has also indicated that she does not support the new effort, according to a report from AZ Family.

“We’re certainly going to continue addressing the situation, working with border communities, and the coalition that we have built whether or not, whether this measure makes it to the ballot or not,” Hobbs said.

But Peterson believes the new legislation is the best way to tackle the issue, arguing the governor has not offered any concrete plans to tackle the border crisis, instead vetoing every bill the Republican-led legislature has put on her desk.

“We’ve done 10 bills in the last two years to deal with border security and she has vetoed all of them,” Peterson said. “We’re going to send it to the voters for them to decide in November.”

Peterson believes the bill will have a good chance of passing once in front of voters, noting that the border crisis is the number one concern of many of the constituents he and his colleagues represent.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs holds up an immigration bill she vetoed

Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill that would have authorized police to arrest illegal immigrants, saying the legislation was anti-immigrant and likely to be unconstitutional. The veto was criticized by Republicans who say the bill would have helped curb a plethora of crimes linked to illegal immigration in the Grand Canyon State. (YouTube)

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The proposal will now move to the full Senate for approval, where a vote is expected on May 15.

The measure will also need to be heard by the state House of Representatives, where it enjoys the support of Republican House Speaker Ben Toma, according to the AZ Family report.

Hobbs’ office did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

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