City of Grand Rapids Hosts meeting on being a Sanctuary City

by Jeff Smith (GRIID)
screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-26-14-pm

Yesterday, an estimated 30 people took part in a meeting to discuss the issue of Grand Rapids becoming a Sanctuary City. There were representatives from city government, the Mayor, the City Manager, members of the Community Relations Commission and the Chief of Police.

The community was represented by several immigration lawyers, non-profit workers, community organizers and members of the faith community.

The first person to be given the floor to start discussion was the Chief of Police. He started by saying, “we don’t work to enforce national immigration policy.” Rahinsky said that once they arrest someone and process them into the county jail they no longer have jurisdiction over what happens to that person. The Chief of Police inferred that the Sheriff’s Department has say on how much they will cooperate with federal law enforcement and then he made the point that Grand Rapids operates as a Sanctuary City, even though they have never declared themselves as one.

What Grand Rapids has declared themselves as is a Welcoming City. In fact, Grand Rapids is one of ten cities in Michigan that has signed on to what are now called Welcoming Communities. The Welcoming City pledge has lots of positive language and takes a clear stand against hate.

However, there was not a great deal of clarity about what a Welcoming Community means in concrete terms and there is no evidence from the website that becoming a Welcoming Community provides any protections for those who are undocumented.

The impact on undocumented immigrants was the major concern from the members of the community who were in attendance. Several immigration lawyers and an ACLU lawyer made it clear that the current practice of the Grand Rapids Police Department does contribute to undocumented immigrants ending up in detention or face deportation, even for minor non-violent offenses such as traffic violations or a suspended driver’s license.

Read the full post here: https://griid.org/2016/12/14/city-of-grand-rapids-hosts-meeting-on-being-a-sanctuary-city/

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-26-14-pm

Yesterday, an estimated 30 people took part in a meeting to discuss the issue of Grand Rapids becoming a Sanctuary City. There were representatives from city government, the Mayor, the City Manager, members of the Community Relations Commission and the Chief of Police.

The community was represented by several immigration lawyers, non-profit workers, community organizers and members of the faith community.

The first person to be given the floor to start discussion was the Chief of Police. He started by saying, “we don’t work to enforce national immigration policy.” Rahinsky said that once they arrest someone and process them into the county jail they no longer have jurisdiction over what happens to that person. The Chief of Police inferred that the Sheriff’s Department has say on how much they will cooperate with federal law enforcement and then he made the point that Grand Rapids operates as a Sanctuary City, even…

View original post 749 more words

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