MichiganVotes Bills

Senate bills would ban sanctuary cities in Michigan

Municipalities would no longer have the right not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities

A pair of bills in the Michigan Senate would ban local governments and counties, respectively, from following sanctuary policies that prevent their employers from cooperating with immigration authorities looking to deport people in America illegally.

Senate Bill 724 covers local governments, and Senate Bill 725 covers county governments.

Both bills are just three pages. Here’s how they describe themselves:

“A bill to prohibit [local governments/counties] from enacting or enforcing any law, ordinance, policy, or rule that limits or prohibits peace officers or local officials, officers, or employees from communicating or cooperating with appropriate federal officials concerning the immigration status of individuals. ...”

If the bills were enacted into law, local governments would have 60 days to bring sanctuary policies into compliance.

On the 61st day, a resident of the polity in question could bring an action in circuit court or file a complaint with the Michigan Attorney General.

If a violation is found, courts can issue injunctions against out-of-compliance policies; order a repeal or amendment of the policy; and award actual damages and attorney fees to the person who filed the complaint.

Both bills were submitted Feb. 22 and referred to the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety.

A week later, the sponsors of the two bills, Sens. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, and Jonathan Lindsey, R-Allen, wrote a letter to Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, urging the chair of the civil rights committee to request a hearing on the bills.

The Senate Republicans webpage cites the Center for Immigration Studies for a claim that the state has “five self-proclaimed sanctuary communities.” These include the city of Lansing as well as the counties of Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent and Wayne.

“The past few weeks have presented several instances of violence and lawlessness in communities across the country that have labeled themselves as ‘sanctuaries’ for those looking to evade federal immigration law enforcement,” the senators wrote. “The elected officials that govern these cities, whether they be Denver, Chicago, or New York, are coming to the conclusion that refusing to enforce our immigration laws is having a disastrous effect on their communities, both from a safety and financial perspective.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.