The city of Tucson is now an "Immigrant Welcoming City."
After hearing impassioned speeches over the ravages of prejudice and fear-mongering from Pastor Ron Oakham of St. Cyril of Alexandria Parish and Mohyeddin Abdulaziz, president of a local anti-discrimination group, the City Council voted 6-1 to declare opposition to the remaining parts of SB 1070 and to begin a citywide discussion of how Tucson can be as inclusive as possible and bring the community closer together.
Councilwoman Regina Romero said she was proud to be a part of a council that has opposed SB 1070 from the beginning, and this resolution will send a strong message to the residents of Tucson they do not have to live in fear.
Romero said she requested the resolution after she was approached by religious leaders expressing concerns that many people were reluctant to venture far from home after the Supreme Court upheld the "papers, please" section of SB 1070, and that church attendance had declined as a result.
"We don't want people to feel fear when traveling to work, to school, to the store," Romero said before the meeting. "We also don't want people to be afraid to call the police to report a crime."
She said a conversation now will begin among the city, immigrant communities, businesses, the Tucson Police Department and others about how to make the city more welcoming.
Steve Kozachik voting against the resolution, said he was concerned Tucson will follow a process similar to one used in Dayton, Ohio, a model that includes creating a business district catering to immigrants and mandating municipal identification cards.
Kozachik said he was categorically opposed to SB 1070 and supports the spirit of the resolution, but said the Dayton model will create more problems.
The council also passed a memorial 7-0 urging federal officials to pass stalled gun-control legislation.
Survivors of the Jan. 8, 2011, shootings and others affected by gun violence implored the council to adopt the memorial.
Councilwoman Karin Uhlich proposed the measure, saying we have failed victims of gun violence by not passing laws to close loopholes that allow private sellers to forgo background checks and leaving too many people off the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
In addition to urging presidential candidate Mitt Romney, President Obama and our congressional delegation to support the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would close these loopholes, the memorial honors those killed or wounded by firearms across the country.
"It recognizes the ones who have suffered the most from our failings to enact gun-control legislation" Uhlich said.
Contact reporter Darren DaRonco at 573-4243 or firstname.lastname@example.org