State Rep. Andy Schor (D-Lansing) said that he favors the right of municipalities to declare themselves sanctuary cities, but warned that Republican-backed legislation at the state level could rob local cities from the ability to set their own policies.
Sanctuary cities are places that have limited how much local police may interact with federal immigration authorities. Those in favor of sanctuary cities say that undocumented immigrants in these places are able to seek help from police without fear of being deported which makes the city safer for everyone.
Trump signed an executive order in January that could strip federal funding from sanctuary cities. Undeterred, a group of activists are pushing for Lansing to become a sanctuary city. The city council is currently divided n the measure.
However, a bill co-sponsored by state Rep. Brett Roberts (R-Potterville) and backed only by Republicans would prohibit any Michigan municipality from being a sanctuary city. Further, it would require any police officer suspecting a person of not being a citizen to prove their citizenship, opening the door to endless harassment of people who police officers decide don’t look “American enough.”
Rep. Schor said he is fighting the measure, but said that with a majority in the state House and Senate, Republicans can pass this bill into law if they decide to.
State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, said the pending Sanctuary Policy Prohibition Act should be taken seriously. He’s not sure how legislators could define sanctuary cities.
In addition to Lansing’s “welcoming city” status, East Lansing considers itself a “safe haven” for immigrants and refugees. The East Lansing City Council passed a resolution last week stating it refuses to cooperate with Trump’s executive order suspending entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Schor and his Democratic colleagues are expected to fight the pending legislation, but the Republicans control the legislature.
“I’ll be opposing the bill, but that doesn’t mean I think it will be going down in flames,” Schor said. “It’s very real that (a law) could be coming.”