/ Modified jun 19, 2020 2:43 p.m.

DACA upheld, COVID-19 surge, selling water rights

Plus, a look at ongoing development in the city of Tucson.

In a closely watched ruling, this week the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program known as DACA that protects immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation. President Trump took steps to cancel the program in 2017 leading to a years-long legal battle that ended up in the highest court. As for what the decision means for DACA recipients nationwide and in Arizona, we got analysis from Jose Vazquez, an immigration attorney in Tucson.

“I think as immigration attorneys, we were expecting the worst, which was that the DACA program was going to be completely rescinded,” Vazquez said.

Vazquez said the court ruled against the Trump administration because it failed to use the proper channels to dismantle DACA, but that the president still has the authority to end the program if he chooses to do so.

“The majority opinion called a decision to terminate the program arbitrary and capricious. Now, they didn’t say that the program could not be rescinded. Neither party argued that,” Vazquez said. “It’s just the way that this program was on the chopping block. The proper legal channels were not followed to properly rescind it.”

Mayors and county supervisors received authority this week to issue their own requirements on masks after Gov. Doug Ducey amended his executive order that prevented them from doing so.

“Today we’re seeing facts on the ground and different circumstances around the state support flexibility and a localized approach,” Ducey told reporters during a press briefing Wednesday.

Former Arizona Department of Public Services director Will Humble considers it a step in the right direction. Now as executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, he supports a statewide mask policy and has been vocal in his criticisms of the governor’s response to the pandemic. He discussed changes he’s advocating for, such as giving local government leaders more authority to implement policies geared toward slowing the spread of the disease in their communities.

“I think there are many cities, maybe even counties in Arizona, that would be enthusiastic about making some local requirements around, say, nightclub operations. To limit the kinds of congregation that we’ve seen in many parts of the state, especially on weekends,” Humble said. “A lot of stuff is at stake here and I think that, in my opinion, it’s worth a little bit of confusion at the local level if it allows you to implement some commonsense measures that can make a real difference.”

The pandemic’s far-reaching effects put the brakes on many aspects of Tucson’s economy, but it did little to slow down the city’s steady transformation – evident in the many cranes that currently freckle its skyline. This week Tony Paniagua spoke to the leaders from notable projects about building during a crisis. Sites he visited included the historic Benedictine Monastery, Pima Community College’s Downtown Campus and the Graduate Tucson hotel in Main Gate Square.

Paniagua also spoke to Barbra Coffee, the director of the city’s Economic Initiatives, about the impact development has had on Tucson’s economy as well as how the pandemic is affecting its trajectory.

As one of the nation’s fastest-growing states, Arizona’s expanding population has pit its denser metropolitan areas against rural communities over a finite resource: access to enough water that can support their needs. In the middle of both are private companies hoping to profit off the demand. Vanessa Barchfield spoke to the stakeholders at the center of a pending water sale that would transfer water from a community of 300 in La Paz County more than 200 miles to the growing town of Queen Creek.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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