After more than a month of discussion and speculation, and despite threats from both Trump and local armed militia, the Lansing City Council voted unanimously to become a sanctuary city.
This means that immigrants without legal status will be able to approach the Lansing police or city officials for help or to provide information without fear that doing so will result in their arrest and deportation. And it means that the Lansing Police will not be assisting the federal immigration police in their efforts to round up and deport undocumented immigrants.
It also means the city could face reprisals from the Trump administration which has vowed to withhold funds from cities that have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities.
Lansing city council members and Mayor Virg Bernero, which have been divided on nearly everything else this year, came together in their defiance of the Trump administration:
The executive order does not limit communication with federal immigration authorities about a person’s citizenship or immigration status, a statement from the mayor’s office read. Bernero said he is confident the policies don’t violate federal law, but “we are also prepared to take legal action to protect the prerogatives and powers of local government and local law enforcement.”
“With the various immigrant and refugee-related controversies coming out of the Trump White House and from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, many in our community have raised questions,” Bernero said in a statement. “I am issuing this executive order to empower our officers in these legal gray areas, while still protecting the interests of all Lansing residents.”