Sanctuary cities would be banned in Michigan under new Senate bill

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LANSING (WJRT) (6/20/2019) - Two Michigan senators have introduced legislation that would ban cities from adopting sanctuary city policies protecting immigrants in the United States illegally.

State Sens. Aric Nesbitt of Lawton and Tom Barrett of Charlotte, both Republicans, filed the bills on Wednesday. Nesbitt said he has a difficult time understanding while some local governments want to hinder enforcement of immigration laws.

“Local governments with sanctuary policies protect criminal illegal aliens instead of their own residents," he said. "This dangerous lawlessness must be stopped.”

Senate Bill 382 would amend state laws to prohibit a county from enacting a law or policy prohibiting local law enforcement from communicating or cooperating with immigration law enforcement.

Senate Bill 383 would do the same for cities, townships and villages.

Any local governmental body in Michigan with laws or policies in violation of the bills would have 60 days after the state law is enacted to change and get into compliance. The state could bring legal action against any governmental bodies refuse to comply.

“This is not only a public safety issue, but also an issue of allowing federal authorities to do their jobs,” said Barrett. “With this legislation we are sending a clear message to our local governments — follow the law."

He said undocumented immigrants have committed crimes in the United States while they were protected by sanctuary policies.

"These bills will hold local governments accountable,” Barrett said.

Both bills were referred to the Senate Committee on Government Operations. They would have to pass there, the full Senate, the House and get Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's signature before becoming law.