Republican lawmaker blocks Texas-style border bill from reaching Arizona voters

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The vote on a controversial border security bill in Arizona was postponed after a Republican lawmaker raised concerns about some of the language.

HCR 2060, also known as the Secure the Border Act, was set to be voted on in the Arizona Senate but was stopped by Republican Senator Ken Bennett, who raised objections to some of the wording in the bill.

The Arizona bill, modeled after Texas' controversial SB 4, aims to give local law enforcement the tools to enforce federal border security laws, making it a crime to cross the border illegally.

SWING STATE GOP LOOKS TO GO DEM GOVERNOR, PUT TEXAS-STYLE BORDER LAW TO VOTERS

December 21, 2023: Migrants cross Lukeville, Arizona. (Fox News)

But Bennett took issue with some of the language in the bill regarding recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA program), with the bill stating that the legal status of children brought to the U.S. illegally would could change if the program were ever run. canceled, according to a report from KJZZ.

“There was a nine-year period between 2012 and 2021 where people became DACA or were granted DACA status, and I don't want anything here that could be applied retroactively,” Bennett said of the provision, according to the report.

The Republican lawmaker's vote is crucial thanks to a narrow majority for the Republican-led Senate, which cannot afford any defections amid universal Democratic opposition to the legislation.

The bill's passage was further complicated by the absence of Republican Senator Justine Wadsack, who was forced to miss the vote while attending a family emergency in California, according to a report from AZ Family.

Border arrivals

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

BORDER STATE GOP CALLS TO TOP THE WHITE HOUSE AND ADOP TX-STYLE IMMIGRATION LAW

Arizona's Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs has also opposed the bill, arguing the bill would do little to “secure our border.”

“On the contrary, it will be harmful to businesses and communities across our state and a burden on law enforcement personnel,” Hobbs said in a statement about the legislation. “I know there is frustration over the federal government's inability to secure our border, but this bill is not the solution.”

Hobbs vetoed a similar piece of legislation in March that would have made it a state crime to cross the border illegally, prompting a new attempt by Republican lawmakers to pass a new version of the bill introduced in November would end up on the ballot of Arizona voters.

Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen expressed optimism that the legislation would eventually pass. He told Fox News Digital that he believed Bennett's concerns had been addressed and that Wadsack could return in time for a vote next week.

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs is holding up an immigration bill she vetoed

Arizona's Democratic governor, Katie Hobbs, has vetoed a Republican-sponsored bill that would have authorized police to arrest illegal immigrants. She said the legislation was anti-immigrant and likely unconstitutional. (YouTube)

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“We are making it clear that they are exempt,” Petersen said of DACA recipients, the subject of Bennett's concerns.

Bennett's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

Meanwhile, Petersen argued that the bill was a valid solution to the state's border security problems, noting the differences between the current legislation and a controversial 2010 law in Arizona known as SB 1070, portions of which were ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012.

“This is not SB 1070,” Petersen said. “We're really just dealing with the border… this is really a border security law. It is not an immigration law.”

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