East Lansing City Council to consider sanctuary city designation

If the resolution is approved, East Lansing would be the only sanctuary city in the state.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:21 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - East Lansing could soon be more than a safe haven for immigrants.

Its city council is set to declare East Lansing a sanctuary city. If the resolution is approved, East Lansing would be the only sanctuary city in the state.

Background: East Lansing may become a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants

There are only three counties in Michigan considered “sanctuary counties,” - Ingham, Kalamazoo and Wayne.

East Lansing has been a “save haven” for immigrants since 2017, which means East Lansing police don’t help federal agencies enforce immigration laws, but it’s never officially been a sanctuary city.

“It signals to a particular group of people that they are a welcomed part of this community,” said Dr. Stephanie Nawyn, MSU Sociology professor.

Ingham County has already declared itself a sanctuary county, but Nawyn said with cities declaring themselves as sanctuary cities, it could do more to attract more immigrants to the area.

“If they see that the city they are living in, they’re working in, that they’re going to school in has claimed to be a sanctuary city that is just one message that tells them this might be a safe place for me,” said Nawyn.

She said cities often declare themselves as sanctuaries to simply make a statement.

“You welcome them. That you’re not going to be over-policing,” said Nawyn.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is sending migrants crossing into Texas to sanctuary cities across the country. About 50 migrants arrived in Philadelphia Wednesday.

This is something State Representative Andrew Fink, (R) Hillsdale, is trying to prevent. He introduced a proposal this summer banning sanctuary cities.

“It’s a matter of public safety and the integrity of our social safety net system and the coherence of our economy,” Fink said.

That bill is still in committee.

East Lansing’s proposal said it would cooperate with the feds only if someone committed a crime that affected public safety.

The city council plans to talk about becoming a sanctuary city during its meeting Tuesday.

Lansing declared itself as a sanctuary city in 2017, but the city council rescinded that official declaration the next week.

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