Kowall announces online petition to call for an end to sanctuary cities

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall announced on Monday that he has set up an online petition calling for the prohibition of sanctuary cities in Michigan.

A sanctuary city is one that adopts policies that prohibit employees from notifying federal authorities of illegal aliens living in their communities. Sanctuary cities recently came to national attention after a San Francisco woman was killed on July 1, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who later confessed to the crime.

“I am strongly opposed to any Michigan cities violating the laws of America, leading to safe havens for murderers, drug dealers and other criminals,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “The city of San Francisco ignored a request by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to let them know if they were going to release the suspect in this case, who was an illegal alien and a repeat felon who had been deported five times to Mexico.

“We must do everything we can to put an end to these laws in Michigan and prevent such a brazen disregard for the law, which could end with a similar tragedy here.”

Kowall’s petition can be found at www.signtostop.com.

The lawmaker said he will be immediately introducing legislation that would prohibit any state funding or other resources from going to sanctuary cities.

While Kowall is working to eliminate the threat of sanctuary cities in Michigan, he supports efforts underway to welcome skilled legal immigrants to Michigan.

“I myself am from a family of immigrants who came to America legally to pursue the American dream and live under our laws,” Kowall said. “Successful companies like Dow and Meijer were created by legal immigrants, and it is important to recognize that in just the past decade alone, more than 30 percent of high-tech businesses created in Michigan were created by immigrants. We need to make sure that vital workers in the agriculture and tourism sectors come to our state legally.

“Programs encouraging foreign students to receive education and training from Michigan universities should continue, and we must do all we can to keep those individuals here in Michigan after they graduate.”

Kowall said he supports the proposed expansion of certain employment-based visas for skilled legal immigrants and workers. There are five types of special visas that permit a non-citizen to be a legal guest and earn employment-based permanent residency.