The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.
As Chief Patrol Agent of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector, I take tremendous pride in law enforcement’s effort to safeguard our communities. I stand with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Chief of Police Chris Magnus, and other Tucson city officials concerned about Proposition 205. Approval would adversely impact the city’s public safety resources and jeopardize the security of all Tucsonans.
If approved, the proposition will severely limit the Tucson Police Department’s opportunities to collaborate with any federal law enforcement agency; it will all but prohibit TPD from participating in any joint law enforcement taskforce that includes a federal officer. Either of these would restrict TPD’s opportunity to share and receive information across a wide variety of criminal investigations, not only those regarding immigration, but also those involving child pornography and sexual exploitation, missing children, and violent crimes.
Proposition 205 risks federal grant funding currently received by TPD, undercutting the city’s capacity to fight crime. These grants fund traffic safety enforcement, narcotics investigations, sexual assault and domestic violence investigations, and a host of other law enforcement assets that have nothing to do with immigration. Stripping them away will eliminate many positions, programs and activities implemented to keep our community safe.
The proposition would also ban city employees from forwarding emergency calls to federal law enforcement agencies if the person involved is a suspected undocumented migrant who has not yet been arrested or detained. Every year, U.S. Border Patrol rescues thousands of undocumented immigrants whose lives are imperiled by smugglers during treacherous border crossings. A large number of these rescues begin as 911 calls placed by undocumented immigrants in imminent danger. Proposition 205 will prohibit local dispatchers from contacting their federal counterparts to help these suspected undocumented immigrants, putting in greater peril the very people it claims to protect.
As a public servant with over 31 years of service I have witnessed firsthand how propositions like this, though well intentioned, jeopardize public safety and compromise border security. I am extremely concerned about the impacts Proposition 205 will have on our city, it citizens and our law enforcement community. I urge you to carefully consider this proposition. Its unintended consequences risk the protection of all who live here, legal and undocumented, undermining the safety and security of our community.