PHOENIX -- Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed legislation today to require police departments and sheriff's deputies to do more to enforce federal immigration laws.
Napolitano said HB 2807 is unnecessary because nothing in state law precludes local police agencies from entering into agreements with the federal government to have their officers certified to stop, question and detain people not in this country legally. She said the only thing they need is the proper federal training.
``Many of these have already entered into these agreements on a voluntary basis,'' the governor wrote. ``A legislative mandate to that effect is unnecessary."
What the legislation would do, Napolitano said, is potentially put the state on the hook for $100 million in training costs.
She said Congress has appropriated only $5.5 million for training for the entire nation. The result, she said, is demand has outstripped available funds.
Napolitano noted that HB 2807 says if federal dollars are not available, then the state has to pick up the cost, not just for state Department of Public Safety officers but any local police or sheriff's department. The governor said that makes no sense ``at a time we are facing significant budget shortfalls.''
The veto came after intense lobbying by some Hispanic activists who called the measure divisive.
But that view is not shared universally: The measure was approved unanimously by the House -- including every Hispanic lawmaker -- and by a wide margin in the Senate.