The murder last weekend of Grand Rapids resident Ruby Garcia by illegal immigrant Brandon Ortiz-Vite has prompted a backlash by Republican legislators seeking to ban sanctuary designations in the state.

As reported Monday by The Midwesterner, Ortiz-Vite faces one count each of homicide/open murder, carjacking, felony firearm, operating while intoxicated, and driving on a suspended or revoked license. His arraignment took place Tuesday in Kent County, one of four counties designated as sanctuary counties for illegal immigrants in the state. East Lansing and Lansing are designated sanctuary cities, and Kent, Kalamazoo, Ingham, and Wayne counties are designated sanctuary counties, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

Last week, State Rep. Andrew Fink re-introduced a plan he sponsored last term to ban sanctuary designations in Michigan.

House Bill 5615 would prohibit local municipalities from preventing law enforcement cooperation with federal officials concerning illegal immigrants. Fink introduced an identical bill last year, but a committee hearing was never scheduled. HB 5615 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

“Every time a city publicly announces it will disregard federal law, human traffickers at the southern border get a little bit richer,” Fink said. “Cartels continue to profit off the false promises made by sanctuary cities. Ignoring calls for aid from immigration officials should never be permitted in Michigan, especially when dangerous criminals are benefiting from these misguided policies.”

According to Fink, U.S. Department of Homeland said border authorities reported 225,000 illegal immigrant encounters on the U.S.-Mexico border in December, often surpassing 10,000 illegal immigrants on a daily basis.

Go Ad-Free, Get Content, Go Premium Today - $1 Trial

“Michigan is a northern border state. Yet, we find ourselves coping with problems stemming from our southern border,” Fink said. “Banning sanctuary cities would send a clear message that Michigan will protect its citizens by working with federal officials and defending federal law.”

Senate Republicans have introduced similar legislation and Democrats have refused to hold a hearing.

On Monday, U.S. Reps. Bill Huzienga, Tim Walberg, and Jack Bergman, co-signed a letter with 19 other Republican representatives.

In the letter, addressed to U.S. Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, the lawmakers expressed concern with security on the U.S. Northern Border with Canada.

“Since October 1st 2023, the Northern Border has seen a record number of illegal immigrants and drug seizures, most notably fentanyl, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). While the crisis at the Southwest Border continues to intensify and unfold into an unprecedented disaster, local communities and Border Patrol agents along the Northern Border are feeling the strain as you continue to direct the Department of Homeland security to abandon its duty of protecting our sovereign borders,” the letter states.

“According to CBP data in fiscal year 2023, Border Patrol agents apprehended 10,021 aliens illegally crossing the border between ports of entry, including 2,229 apprehensions in the first four months alone. In the first four months of FY 2024, through January 2024, the Border Patrol has already apprehended 4,772 subjects along the Northern Border, a 114% increase from the first months of FY 2023. This 114% increase in apprehensions is unsustainable and symptomatic of your border failure to secure the border.”

Last month, 19 illegal immigrants were processed for deportation after the bus in which they were traveling outside Traverse City was stopped for erratic driving. The man driving the bus was the only passenger with identification, a Mexican voter ID card.

“We don’t know where these people came from, but we do know they didn’t use the legal process to get here,” State Rep. John Roth, R-Traverse City, said in a statement. “Local officials told me that this isn’t some isolated incident. This isn’t the first time our local law enforcement has dealt with these situations. It’s scary to think of all the times these buses don’t get pulled over and just keep driving to wherever they’re headed. This is a trend that must stop. It isn’t safe for the people being trafficked across the border or the people already living in our country. Right now, it seems like Traverse City cops are better equipped to handle the illegal immigration crisis than the federal government.”

In the meantime, as reported last week by The Midwesterner, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer launched the Newcomer Rental Subsidy program, which will provide refugees and other Newcomer population-eligible households with rental assistance up to $500 per month for up to 12 months.