LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall introduced a bill on Wednesday that would prohibit local units of government from enacting or enforcing “sanctuary city” laws.
Sanctuary cities prevent local employees from notifying federal authorities of illegal aliens living in their communities.
Kowall’s measure, Senate Bill 445, also would prohibit any state funding or other resources from going to sanctuary cities.
“The recent tragic death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco at the hands of an illegal alien — who also was a repeat felon who had been deported five times — should be a wakeup call for all of us,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “Because of San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy, that city ignored a request by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency regarding the suspect in Ms. Steinle’s murder.
“Her death could have been prevented. We must put an end to sanctuary cities in Michigan so a similar tragedy doesn’t occur here.”
On Monday, Kowall announced that he had set up an online petition, www.signtostop.com, calling for the prohibition of sanctuary cities in Michigan.
“We already have had thousands of Michiganders sign the petition calling for an end to sanctuary cities,” Kowall said. “I am encouraged by the response and I urge all Michiganders to sign.”
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.