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Posted by on Mar 2, 2011 in In The News, TG Roundup, USA

Is Michigan becoming the Arizona of MidWest?

From Chicago Tribune:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-mi-immigrationdebate,0,6538927.story

LANSING, Mich. —
A proposal that would get police more involved in checking the Immigration status of people they pull over sparked criticism Tuesday at the Michigan Capitol, with an immigrant rights group and some pastors saying it would create a climate of fear and division.

Republican Rep. Dave Agema of Grandville said the bill he introduced last week was a “common sense” measure to help ensure that federal Immigration law is enforced in Michigan.

The measure would require law enforcement officers to make a “complete, full and appropriate attempt” to verify a person’s Immigration status after the person is stopped for another offense and officers have probable cause to suspect the person is in the country illegally.

People who don’t have a driver’s license or other documentation and are suspected to be illegal immigrants could be turned over to federal custody. Agencies or officials that adopt policies limiting or restricting the enforcement of federal Immigration law could face fines.

The Alliance for Immigrants Rights and Reform Michigan said the proposal would allow police to stop and arrest people solely on the suspicion they may be in the U.S. illegally and deportable.
Agema said that wouldn’t be the case, and that the Immigration status check would come only after someone had been arrested or stopped on suspicion of violating state or local law and didn’t have proper identification.

“If they were drunk driving or they were caught stealing, that’s when they’d do it,” Agema said. “They don’t just pull them over because `hey, that guy looks like he’s an illegal.’ No. That’s not in the bill.”

Agema said illegal Immigration is costly to Michigan through higher costs for health care, education and human services.

Opponents say the bill would hurt Michigan’s business climate and reputation by creating an atmosphere where even legal immigrants feel unwelcome. Opponents said the Michigan bill is patterned after one in Arizona that sparked national criticism.

“The future of Michigan’s economy relies on attracting the best and brightest from across the world,” Rev. Fred Thelen, pastor of Cristo Rey Catholic Church in Lansing, said in a statement. “It would be foolish to pass this law and signal to the world that Michigan does not welcome the world, but treats it with suspicion.”

Opponents said the bill “virtually mandates” racial profiling, but bill supporters said protections against racial profiling are in place. The proposal states that it would be enforced in a manner consistent with federal Immigration laws and “protecting the civil rights of all persons.”

Michigan’s law enforcement officers already have the power to contact federal Immigration officials if they’ve stopped someone that they have probable cause to believe is in the country illegally. But Michigan State Police say there’s no state Immigration law that makes that a requirement or spells out procedures to follow if they suspect they’ve stopped an illegal immigrant.