Arizona Chamber of Commerce leader explains opposition to HCR2060, aka Secure the Border Act

May 15, 2024, 1:18 PM

Layers of Concertina are added to existing barrier infrastructure along the U.S. - Mexico border ne...

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry has come out against HCR2060, a Republican-backed proposal known as the Secure the Border Act. (Customs and Border Protection File Photo)

(Customs and Border Protection File Photo)

PHOENIX – The leader of Arizona’s largest business advocacy group explained Wednesday why he opposes HCR2060, the Republican-backed proposal also known as the Secure the Border Act.

Danny Seiden, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show that while he supports some elements of the proposal, he doesn’t like the way it’s being handled.

Republican lawmakers know Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs would veto the legislation if they passed it as a bill, so they are working to put it on the Nov. 5 ballot via concurrent resolution, a process that doesn’t need the governor’s signature.

Arizona Chamber of Commerce leader opposes ballot process

However, that process is one of Seiden’s main concerns because the state’s Voter Protection Act requires a three-fourths majority in each chamber to alter laws enacted through ballot measures.

“When you do it by referral, you’re … basically putting handcuffs on the policy,” Seiden said. “Future legislators can’t come back and change it and make it better because the Voter Protection Act, so it’s not a good way of doing it. But these are valid concerns they’re trying to address.”

While Seiden thinks some other HCR2060 opponents are misrepresenting how it might affect Arizona’s economy, he is concerned about how the state will pay for incarcerating people for illegal entry from Mexico and other elements of proposal.

“What it does do, because it’s legislating at the ballot box, is it does create an unfunded mandate, and that is concerning to us.”

‘People are making things up to kind of stir the pot’

Seiden thinks the uproar over the Secure the Border Act is more likely to hurt the state than the policies it contains.

“People are making things up to kind of stir the pot on this when we should be having a real discussion about what’s the best policy for the state,” he said.

A common criticism of HCR2060 is that it echoes SB1070, Arizona’s controversial “show-me-your-papers” law that was partially struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court after being passed in 2010. Seiden doesn’t think that comparison is valid.

“You can dislike this policy, like the Chamber does, because of certain valid facts, but when you distort facts to claim it’ll destroy the economy or claim that law enforcement will automatically turn racist and is incapable of following laws, that’s upsetting and that paints Arizona in an unflattering light that is not deserved,” he said.

While he doesn’t agree with the current approach, Seiden is glad both sides of the aisle recognize that the border situation needs to be addressed.

“One referral is not going to solve 10 years of failure by the federal government, a fact that even the state’s most prominent Democrat, Gov. Katie Hobbs, has recognized in taking on the White House over immigration issues,” he said. “So her and the Republican leadership agree there’s a problem, it’s just, ‘How do we solve it?'”

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Arizona Chamber of Commerce leader explains opposition to HCR2060, aka Secure the Border Act