Senate “Sanctuary City” Bill Jeopardizes Revenue Sharing

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Dene Westbrook

League staff testified this week in opposition to Senate Bill 445 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The bill would prohibit any community in Michigan from adopting or enforcing a “sanctuary city” ordinance or policy.  Introduced in the wake of a tragic murder in San Francisco that is being tied to that city’s “sanctuary” policies, the Michigan bill would preempt a local unit of government from enacting or enforcing any law, ordinance, policy or rule that would limit a peace officer or local official from communicating or cooperating with appropriate federal officials on an individual’s immigration status.

To achieve compliance, the bill requires that every city, village, township and county:

  • provide written notice to each peace officer, local official and local employee of their duty to cooperate with state and federal officials on the enforcement of immigration laws.
  • provide the Legislature with written confirmation that the local unit has complied with the previous notice.
  • report individuals they have probable cause to believe are not legally present in the U.S. to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service.
  • report to the Legislature annually on the number of referrals sent to Customs and Immigration.

If a community fails to comply with any of these provisions, the bill would require that the Treasurer withhold the total annual revenue sharing payment for that community.

In addition to the bill’s obvious attack on local control and the needless unfunded mandatory reporting, the committee heard testimony from multiple individuals expressing concern about the message that a bill like this will send to the immigrant community. Municipalities and their employees could face increased liability and it decreases law enforcement’s discretion to perform their jobs.  Most troubling, though is the attempt to penalize every community in Michigan, regardless of size or their involvement in this issue, by holding revenue sharing hostage.  Even communities that do not offer their own law enforcement services would be subject to these mandates and potential penalties.

Please contact your legislators today and urge them to oppose SB 445.

Chris Hackbarth is the League’s director of state affairs. He can be reached at 517-908-0304and [email protected].


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