Gov. Janet Napolitano has derailed major immigration-related bills, angering some Arizonans who sought to build on the momentum generated by passage of Proposition 200 seven months ago.
The vetoes may help define the wedge issue that conservatives have been looking for to hurt Napolitano in next year’s gubernatorial campaign.
Napolitano used her veto to kill a bill viewed as a way of widening the scope of benefits denied to undocumented immigrants beyond those specified in Proposition 200, the initiative approved by voters last November.
The majority of the immigration bills introduced by Republicans during the 2005 session failed to become law. Most were stalled in the Legislature. But Napolitano put the brakes on most of those that reached her desk.
Among the measures Napolitano vetoed Friday:
• A bill requiring Arizonans to show proof of citizenship to register to vote.
• A bill authorizing police officers to investigate, arrest, detain or deport undocumented immigrants. Currently, only federal agents have the authority to do so.
Earlier in the year, she also vetoed:
• A bill declaring English as the state’s official language.
• A bill banning state and local governments from accepting Mexico-issued consular cards and other foreign forms of ID as valid identification.
Napolitano scoffs at the criticism, saying the bills didn’t solve the problems and, she notes, she signed House Bill 2592, prohibiting local governments from spending taxpayers’ money on day-labor centers.
“The other bills I vetoed had an undue impact on people who are lawfully in the state of Arizona,” she said. “I don’t think the price we ought to pay for the broken border is more burdens on legal citizens in our state.”