PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey spent much of his first term working to repair the damage to the state’s reputation caused by a 2010 tough-on-immigrants law known as SB 1070 that his predecessor signed.
That changed this year when the second-term Republican governor promoted a new proposal to enshrine in the state Constitution a key component of that law, a ban on so-called sanctuary city policies that limit police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
Arizona wasn’t ready, and he was forced to pull the plan late Thursday amid mounting pressure from the business community and outrage from immigrant rights groups.
Ducey — a supporter of President Donald Trump, who has made immigration a signature issue — denied that his push for lawmakers to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot was a sea change. And he bristled when questioned about whether his effort would again lead to boycotts of Arizona and other problems like SB 1070 did.
“The state is booming. I think what would hurt the state’s reputation is sanctuary cities, which people have tried to put on the ballot,” Ducey said Thursday before ending his plan. “The state’s reputation is just fine — we’ve got people moving here every day.”
But opponents of the governor’s plan say it was a major about-face from his first term, when he faced pressure from the business community to halt the Republican-controlled Legislature’s anti-immigration efforts.
They lambasted the proposal Ducey asked for in last month’s State of the State address as a return to “one of the darkest years in Arizona history.” After then-GOP Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 in 2010, tens of thousands of people marched on the Capitol and some businesses boycotted the state.
The damage was deep, coming as Arizona reeled from the lingering effects of the Great Recession and a foreclosure crisis that was the worst in the nation.
Legal challenges to SB 1070 kept many of its provisions from being implemented, but courts upheld the law’s ban on sanctuary policies and its key feature: a requirement that police officers, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Other than relatively minor proposals targeting immigrant criminals or border security, Ducey largely avoided the contentious issue after taking office in 2015.