Thursday, April 13, 2017
Lansing no longer a sanctuary city...but the Mayor by Executive Order refuses to comply. The Left rules against the will of the people once again.
The Lansing City Council backed out of its decision to declare itself a sanctuary city Wednesday evening, holding a vote to rescind the barely week-old resolution.
After hours of public comment, the council voted 5-2 to rescind the resolution containing a reference to sanctuary city passed April 3. Council member Jessica Yorko was not present for the vote.
The council members then decided not to take up a resolution reaffirming Lansing as a "Welcoming City" for immigrants.
Council member Kathie Dunbar, who was a main proponent of declaring Lansing a sanctuary city, was one of the members who voted against rescinding the resolution, joining council member Tina Houghton. She said she believed the resolution was well within legal bounds and should not have been changed.
"It's a darn shame that after appearing to have a backbone and actually taken a stand on something that really matters, folks have decided to throw it away," Dunbar said. "And the message that sends to folks is really sad."
But other members of the council were concerned adding "sanctuary city" to a resolution on immigration could negatively impact the city budget and could give people the wrong impression that the city of Lansing is offering protections it doesn't currently have.
"What bothers me and what concerns me and what goes to my soul...is do we give this false perception to people that there is something out there that is not there," said council member Carol Wood. Referring to the resolution that included the reference to making Lansing a sanctuary city, she said, "this paper won't make any difference" for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
Council member Jody Washington said the city council does not have the authority to declare Lansing a sanctuary city, adding that she didn't think the city "could afford any more confusion" by reaffirming a "Welcoming City" status that was already on the books.
Dozens of people on both sides of the issue stepped forward to criticize the council - those who opposed the concept of sanctuary cities condemned the council's initial decision and encouraged them to eschew the resolution altogether, and supporters of the designation criticized the council for backing down.
Several critics opposing the sanctuary city resolution - many of whom donned Donald Trump shirts - said the concept was dangerous for the capital city and flies in the face of federal law.
"Trump is going to know exactly what you're doing," said Rose Atkins, one of the people who commented in favor of the council rescinding its resolution. "If you come in here, come in the right way."
Jim Herbert, the CEO of Lansing-based company Neogen, asked why elected officials "seek to flout the laws intended to keep my family and my employees safe."
Supporters of the sanctuary city policy expressed concern and frustration that after weeks of discussion and an eventual vote, the council was meeting again only to pull back.
"I see a lot of fear in this room," said Oscar Castaneda, a member of Action of Greater Lansing. "What I don't get is ignorance in the ones that have to make decisions."
Richard Boyd, a pastor at First Christian Church, said "the whole world is watching" the city of Lansing.
"Do not throw away your chance to be brave and principled," he said prior to the vote.
Three audience members were escorted from the room by police. After the vote rescinding the resolution, several people exited the room in protest.
The council's decision does not change Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero's recent executive order, which includes a provision preventing Lansing police officers and city employees from asking about immigration status "except as required by federal or state statute or court decision."