In the wake of President Trump’s immigration ban, the City of Lansing is trying to figure out how it stays true to itself without facing a penalty.
As sanctuary cities are loosing federal funding, the City of Lansing is looking at ways to get around that.
One of the ideas, is all about the title, aiming to call Lansing a “Welcoming City” instead.
“Are we a sanctuary city, well I hope we’re a sanctuary, I hope we’re safe ya know, we certainly aim to be a safe place for all of our residents, including immigrants and refugees,” says Lansing Mayor, Virg Bernero.
It’s a matter of definition.
One that Mayor Bernero says, means different things to different people.
And he’s not the only one.
Lansing City Council Member, At-Large, Kathie Dunbar agrees, the term “sanctuary” can be tricky.
“We do not order our officers to ask immigration status when they pull somebody over, our courts do not check that, that’s not something that we engage in,” says Dunbar.
Dunbar says, council members are facing a challenge.
Not only does the city stand to loose federal funding if it classifies itself a sanctuary, legislation has also been introduced at the State Capitol that would cut revenue sharing as well.
“We want to create a dissinscentive for local governments overriding immigration law that’s set at the federal level,” says State Representative, Tom Barrett, who introduced the bill.
Michigan House Bill 4105 says:
The governing body of a local unit of government shall not enact or enforce any law, ordinance, policy, or rule that limits or prohibits a peace officer or local official, officer, or employee from communicating or cooperating with appropriate federal officials concerning the immigration status of an individual in this state.
Or else they will loose state money.
But while that bill still has a long way to go, Dunbar says it’s time to take action.
“I don’t think we wait, I think we take a stand,” says Dunbar.
A stand, to show Lansing residents they are safe.
“Were welcoming, we make it clear to everybody that we’re all brothers and sisters. but that we enforce the law, we keep the community safe, without regard to status,” says Mayor Bernero.
As to what the City of Lansing will do, both the Mayor and Council Members are continuing to weigh their options.
The next action is set to happen at the City Council Meeting on Monday, February 13th.