Michigan Senate Republicans want to prevent any incentives that create the type of overwhelming illegal immigration that is bankrupting sanctuary cities like Chicago, Denver and New York City.

They think the sanctuary policies come at cost that Michigan taxpayers can’t afford.

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“As you know, the past few weeks have presented several instances of violence and lawlessness in communities across the country that have labeled themselves as ‘sanctuaries’ for those looking to evade federal immigration law enforcement,” state Sens. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton, and Jonathan Lindsey, R-Allen, wrote in a recent letter to Sen. Stephanie Chang, the Democratic chair of the Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety Committee.

“The elected officials that govern these cities, whether they be Denver, Chicago, or New York, are coming to the conclusion that refusing to enforce our immigration laws is having a disastrous effect on their communities, both from a safety and financial perspective.”

Hoitenga and Lindsey are requesting a hearing on Senate bills 724 and 725 to prohibit sanctuary cities and counties in the state. The Center for Immigration Studies points to five governments in Michigan that have adopted sanctuary policies: Lansing, and Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent and Wayne counties. All of those counties have collected federal law enforcement funding despite policies that make federal enforcement harder. In 2023, it was $141,702 from taxpayers to Lansing, $38,297 to Kent County, $31,110 to Kalamazoo County, and $16,704 to Ingham County. Wayne County did not submit enough violent crime data to qualify in 2023, but received $161,144 in 2021, according to Department of Justice data.

“By refusing to enforce immigration laws, these rogue communities are compromising our national security and putting the safety of Michigan residents and the financial stability of our entire state at risk,” Hoitenga said. “The Michigan Legislature has a duty to act in a bipartisan manner to keep our communities safe from the preventable violence and rampant drug trafficking streaming across Joe Biden’s open borders.”

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Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has said the migrant crisis could cost the city $180 million a year, so officials there are looking to cut 10 to 15 percent of the budget from all departments to address the influx. More than 37,000 migrants have come to Denver in the last year, including thousands temporarily housed by the city, according to KDVR.

In New York City, officials are moving kids out of schools to provide shelter, brawls are breaking out with police in Time Square, and city taxpayers are paying $500 a night to house criminals who are repeatedly robbing residents.

“Cities that declared themselves sanctuary cities are quickly walking back that status as the reality of this crisis sets in,” Lindsey said. “The self-imposed status that sanctuary cities have given themselves tells residents their government cares more about protecting criminals than the people they took an oath to. It is a complete dereliction of duty that erodes the safety of these communities day by day as the border crisis rages on.

“The fact is people are gravely concerned about the crisis at the southern border and they want something done about it. With Joe Biden’s utter failure to act, we are offering solutions on the state level, and taking up these bills is a strong start,” he said.

The sanctuary bills are one piece of a Strong Borders, Safer Communities plan introduced by Senate Republicans in February that also includes increased penalties for fentanyl traffickers, and a call on the president and Congress to “immediately and fully resolve” the border crisis.

The Midwesterner left a message for comment with committee chair Chang.

U.S. Border Patrol ended 2023 with nearly 250,000 encounters with migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in just the month of December – the highest monthly total ever, eclipsing the peak of 224,000 in May 2022, according to the Pew Research Center.

An October report from the House Committee on Homeland Security shows in Fiscal Year 2023, the total was 2.4 million encounters on the southwest border, 3.2 million nationwide, including at least 169 on the terrorist watch list.