Michigan GOP Joins Trump in Targeting Sanctuary Cities

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Michigan GOP Joins Trump in Targeting Sanctuary Cities

Michelle D. Anderson

State Republicans sponsored a bill in the house to bar municipalities from offering sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

A proposed law in the Michigan House of Representatives could keep the state’s cities from providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants.

Sponsored by Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield Township) and co-sponsored by five other Republicans, the Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act would ban local government officials from passing policies that limit their cooperation with federal officials about immigration status.

Cities with such policies, which have been adopted across the country, are known as sanctuary cities.

HB 4105 would require local governments to submit an annual count to Michigan lawmakers sharing how many reports they made to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE).

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Cities that violate the law would lose the funding they receive under the Glenn Steil State Revenue Sharing Act of 1971 “for each year or portion of a year that the local unit of government fails to comply,” according to the proposed legislation.

Republicans control both chambers of the Michigan legislature.

The ACLU of Michigan has encouraged residents to protest the bill during Hornberger’s office hours on February 6.

Kimberly S. Buddin, policy counsel at the ACLU of Michigan, told Rewire in an email that HB 4105 is unconstitutional and would dismantle “policies that have established trust between police and the communities they serve by further increasing racial profiling. “

The bill, Buddin said, would require local law enforcement agencies to comply with ICE detainers or face sanctions. Detainers are requests issued by ICE without authorization or oversight by a judge, asking police to hold people in jail so that the federal agency can investigate whether they might be subject to deportation.

ICE has mistakenly issued “thousands of detainers for U.S. citizens and non-citizens who are lawfully present in the United States,” she said.

“The bill invites law enforcement to stop and detain individuals solely on the basis of their race, ethnicity, and/or national origin, a clear violation of the constitutional protections afforded to all people, and without a judicial determination of probable cause,” Buddin said.

If the measure passes, the law would go into effect 90 days after the date it is enacted.

Robert Stevenson, executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, told Rewire in an email that the police union’s legislative committee had not yet reviewed the bill and did not have an official position.

George Basar, the association’s legislative chairman, told Rewire in a phone interview that the organization does not profile people. Basar serves as police chief in Howell, Michigan, a city 45 minutes from Detroit.

“Our position has always been each department is subject to their own local politics, but our position is we are not the immigration police,” Basar said.

Basar added that local agencies don’t “go hunt people down,” though they will turn over pertinent information to federal officials if an undocumented person commits a crime.

Alexis Wiley, chief of staff to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, recently told the Detroit Free Press that Trump’s immigration order attacking sanctuary cities was not applicable to the city.

“We do cooperate fully with all federal agencies during the course of criminal investigations, regardless of a person’s immigration status,” Wiley said.

Although Duggan has said the city cooperates with federal immigration officials, Detroit City Council member Raquel Castañeda-López called the municipality a sanctuary city in an interview with Michigan radio. Detroit is home to the state’s largest population of Latinos, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Detroit Police Officers Association did not respond to Rewire‘s request for comment.

The association has a checkered history on discrimination. The leader of the Detroit Police Officers Association recently denounced an internal report about department-wide racial discrimination as “slander” and called for the committee that drafted to report to be disbanded, the Free Press reported.