According to Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit has nothing to fear from President Trump’s executive order on so-called “sanctuary cities”—because Detroit is not one.
Detroit is sometimes called a sanctuary city because of a 2007 anti-profiling ordinance that bans police from asking about immigration status during traffic stops, while interviewing witnesses, and in most other cases.
But Duggan says “sanctuary cities” took on a new meaning: cities that do not cooperate with federal agencies to deport people. It’s those cities that face losing federal grant funding as a result of Trump’s order.
Duggan says Detroit Police have always cooperated with federal immigration agencies, especially Customs and Border Patrol since it sits on an international border. He says they will still do so.
“If Detroit police arrest somebody today for breaking and entering, and in the course of running the ID check find they’re here illegally, they contact customs and immigration,” Duggan said. “Sometimes deporting is a simpler process than prosecuting.”
Detroit’s new municipal ID program does include some undocumented immigrants, and Duggan admits the federal government could request the program’s data at some point. But he was not too concerned about it.
“You know, I guess anything can be subpoenaed, but I think we have advised everybody of how it works,” Duggan said. “And we’ve had large numbers signing up.”
Duggan says the ID program, his appointment of a city Immigration Affairs director, and other recent initiatives show that Detroit still aims to be a “welcoming city” for immigrants.