Tuscon and Flagstaff on Tuesday became the first cities in Arizona to sue the state over its new and controversial immigration law.
The Tuscon City Council voted 5 to 1 to sue the state to overturn the law, the Arizona Daily Star reports, after considering the reaction and potential economic consequences for the city.
And later Tuesday night, the Flagstaff City Council voted unanimously to file suit against the law, according to the Arizona Daily Sun, after listening to three hours of public testimony. More than two dozen spoke at the meeting, and most were in favor of overturning the law, according to the Sun.
The law in question, which has prompted protests across the country, would require immigrants to carry documents verifying their immigration status. It would also require police officers to question a person about his or her immigration status during a "lawful stop" if there is "reasonable suspicion" that person may be in the country illegally.
After the initial backlash, the state legislature modified the law in an attempt to address some of the controversy it has created -- but the changes did not mollify critics. A handful of cities across the country, mostly on the West Coast, are moving toin protest of the law.
Tuscon Mayor Bob Walkup was particularly concerned that the economic boycotts could hurt Tuscon, especially if officials in Portland, Oregon chose to follow through with their threat to boycott, because of Tuscon's close business ties to Portland. Walkup said that the city's lawsuit would hopefully convince the cities to "exempt Tucson from the boycott," the Star reports.
The mayor also noted the city's economy depends largely on Mexican tourists.
The Mexican government has issued a travel alert warning Mexican citizens to use extreme caution if visiting Arizona because of the law.
Tuscon already faces a $33 million revenue shortfall next year, the Star reports. The city is using its in-house lawyers to file the suit and reportedly plans to obtain outside counsel without incurring additional costs or attorney's fees.
In Flagstaff, it is unclear how much the city might spend fighting the state over its new law, the Sun reports. However, the city reportedly set up a fund on Tuesday to accept public donations for the effort. Flagstaff faces a $6 million budget deficit.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has also expressed interest in challenging the law, according to reports, but he was unable to win the support of the city council last week to file a lawsuit on behalf of the city. Gordon reportedly plans to file a challenge with other Arizona mayors.
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