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Bill to end "sanctuary cities" draws opposition from some state lawmakers

Oct 1, 2015

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan Senate bill that would ban "sanctuary city" ordinances, which protect people living in the U.S. illegally, is drawing opposition from some lawmakers.

The proposed bill would prohibit city policies that discourage local law enforcement officials from questioning an individual's immigration status.

The bill would also require police to report anyone they arrest and suspect may also be in the country illegally to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. 

Local governments that don't comply with the requirements would risk losing state funding.

State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, said the bill legitimizes racial profiling and unfairly characterizes immigrants.

"[The bill has] this undertone that the reason we have crime in the United States is because we have a bunch of quote-unquote illegal immigrants that are murdering Americans in the United States," Santana said. 

Santana said the bill also strips power from municipalities and forces local police to act as immigration officers.

State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, the bill's sponsor, says federal law already requires law enforcement to report undocumented immigrants.

"What we're doing simply is telling local units of government that [they] have to comply with federal law in order to maintain funding from the state."

Ann Arbor and Detroit are both considered sanctuary cities.