Following the election of President Trump and the advent of his harsh immigration policies, a nationwide movement was galvanized to declare certain cities as “Sanctuary Cities.” A Sanctuary City is one that declares its intention to not follow the federal government’s immigration regulations, through a city council resolution. This primarily means the city will not use its local police force to enforce immigration and deportations, nor will it assist the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
Several cities across the nation quickly passed such resolutions. This included major cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore and New Orleans. Michigan chapters of the political organizations Latino Leaders for the Enhancement of Advocacy, or LLEAD, and By Any Means Necessary, or BAMN, began addressing the city council on the issue in December.
After months of advocacy, Lansing declared itself a Sanctuary City by a unanimous vote during the city council’s April 3 meeting. However, facing pressure from the chamber of commerce and public backlash, the decision was quickly rescinded the following meeting on April 11. The controversial decision turned Lansing’s city council meetings into a national story. Council members Jessica Yorko and Kathi Dunbar appeared on the Bill O’Reilly show to defend their decision to vote yes on the resolution.
The council members that opposed passing the resolution primarily cited President Trump’s threat to cut federal funding to Sanctuary Cities, arguing that the risk of a funding cut was simply too big. However, a federal court ruling on April 25 officially blocks Trump’s administration from slashing any funds from Sanctuary Cities.
Worth noting is the passing of an executive order by Mayor Virg Bernero. The executive order declares that the Lansing police force will not question one’s immigration status during an arrest. Effectively, this executive order gives Lansing the key trademarks of a Sanctuary City.
These are pictures from those meetings and a few are from the immigrant rights rally that was held at the capitol on May 1.