May 13th, 2008 @ 12:40pm
by Associated Press
The Arizona House rejected an effort Tuesday to override Gov. Janet Napolitano's veto of a bill requiring that city and county police agencies have programs to confront federal immigration violations.
The effort fell 10 votes short of what was needed to send the override proposal to the Senate.
The bill vetoed three weeks ago by the Democratic governor would have given police agencies three options to meet its requirements. The agencies could have given federal immigration training to their officers, put federal agents in units within their departments or set up relationships with federal authorities to confront the problem.
Napolitano's objection was that the costs of the federal immigration training would be picked up by the state if no federal funds were available for it, saying the state would have been forced to swallow about $100 million in costs.
Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa said he took the unusual step of seeking the veto override because he figured he had enough support, given that the House had approved the bill on a 56-0 vote in March.
``They were all willing to vote for it the first time,'' said Pearce, whose veto override attempt failed on a 30-25 vote. Forty votes were needed.
Democratic Rep. Ben Miranda of Phoenix, who voted for the original bill but against the override attempt, said some lawmakers who supported the proposed requirement have since re-examined the issue and concluded it would dilute the resources police have to fulfill their traditional role of protecting their communities.
``We all took a closer look at the legislation. It creates a lot more problems than it would solve,'' Miranda said.
Pearce, an advocate for tougher local immigration enforcement, is seeking to put proposals on the November ballot that would prohibit agencies from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws and withhold state funding for departments that refuse to end such policies.
The proposal, which is awaiting a final vote in the House, also would expand a state trespassing law to make it illegal for an undocumented immigrant to enter Arizona.