Author Topic: MI. Bill would punish so called 'sanctuary cities'  (Read 597 times)

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MI. Bill would punish so called 'sanctuary cities'
« on: October 01, 2015, 02:07:29 pm »

MI. Bill would punish so called 'sanctuary cities'

    Bill would punish so called 'sanctuary cities'

    By Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press Lansing Bureau6:14 p.m. EDT September 29, 2015

    LANSING — Cities like Detroit and Ann Arbor could risk losing millions in state revenue sharing if they maintain "sanctuary city" designations, under proposed legislation currently being debate in the Capitol.

    A Senate proposal, which was the subject of a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, would dock revenue sharing payments to cities that have passed some sort of resolutions regarding immigration policy.

    Detroit passed an ordinance in 2007 prohibiting police from investigating a crime victim or witnesses' immigration status, while Ann Arbor's ordinance limits immigration investigations to violent criminal acts.

    Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, said federal law calls for local police to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs officials when they arrest and charge people with criminal acts.

    "We don't want to erode the trust between communities and police, but if you're not obeying federal law, that's a violation," said Kowall, who introduced the bill after a young woman was shot and killed in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant who had a criminal record and hadn't been tuned over to immigration officials.

    The bill, however, received plenty of vocal opposition at the hearing Tuesday, particularly from city and township officials, who worried about the requirements that all municipalities annually report to the Legislature any interaction with border officials.

    "What this does is force the Detroit Police Department to become immigration officials," said state Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit. "There are bad actors in every community, but this promotes a mischaracterization of the immigrant community due largely to the national debate at the presidential level."

    And immigrant communities said the bill will only encourage law-abiding immigrants -- undocumented and legal -- to resist working with police on criminal investigations, as well as prompting an increase in racial profiling from police.

    "I’ve never committed any crime, never took any handouts, never stole any jobs. In fact, I created some jobs," said Ivan Gomez, a small business owner from Kalamazoo. "I’m an immigrant who wants a better life, not fear from police or the government who might now start looking at skin color."

    Kowall said he plans to tweak his original proposal and may take out some reporting requirements. But he said he doesn't want to remove the provision that would tie revenue sharing payments to communities with such immigration ordinances.

    "There are a lot of concerns. I'm sensitive to that. I grew up in a family where English was not the first language. I grew up being called a Pollack, so I know. We'll clean it up to the best of our ability," he said. "But if there isn't some sort of a hammer, it's just going to be one of those law on the books.

    There has to be some reason to comply with the law."

    The committee didn't vote on the bill and Kowall said he hopes to have something ready to get a vote of the full Legislature by the end of the year.

    Contact Kathleen Gray: 517-372-8661, or on Twitter @michpoligal.