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Hobbs vetoes controversial Arizona immigration bill some likened to SB 1070

Woman wearing striped shirt
Gov. Katie Hobbs speaking with attendees at the 2024 Legislative Forecast Luncheon hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at Chase Field in Phoenix on Jan. 5, 2024.

Gov. Katie Hobbs rejected a bill Monday that Republicans say would have allowed local law enforcement to crack down on illegal immigration.

The bill, sponsored and passed on party lines by legislative Republicans, would have made it a state crime to cross the border outside of a port of entry.

That's already illegal under federal law. While vetoing the ball, Hobbs cited previous court rulings barring state’s like Arizona from enforcing federal immigration laws, and warned the measure would have buried the state in expensive litigation.

“These bills don’t do anything to really address border security issues that we’re facing,” she said.

The governor's move is hardly a surprise. Hobbs announced her intent late last month to veto the measure after the House and Senate gave the identical measures their preliminary approval.

In a statement, Republican state senators said the Arizona Border Invasion Act was necessary because of the failures of Hobbs and the Biden administration.

“The Legislature did its job to protect our citizens, but Gov. Hobbs failed to do hers. Vetoing the Arizona Border Invasion Act is a prime example of the chaos Hobbs is unleashing in our state while perpetuating this open border crisis as Biden's accomplice,” said bill sponsor Sen. Janae Shamp (R-Surprise).

The Arizona legislation was modeled after a similar Texas law. And on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked that Texas measure from taking effect, at least until March 13, while it gives the U.S. Department of Justice the chance to weigh in.

It also was the Department of Justice that more than a decade ago got the nation's high court to void several key provisions of an Arizona law also designed to give police more power to detain and question those they believed were not in the country legally.

Legislative Democrats, meanwhile, called the GOP-backed bill a stunt, and warned of the certainty of the governor’s veto.

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.