2016-12-15 / Views

The strange and short-lived move to a sanctuary county

A sanctuary county? Are you serious?

Apparently not. The Leelanau County Board of Commissioners stopped short of holding a serious discussion Tuesday on a topic that had no chance of passing and, from what we surmise, was designed as a quasi protest against the outcome of the General Election.

Commission chair Peachy Rentenbach originally placed the issue of turning Leelanau into a “sanctuary county” on the meeting agenda, saying that the request was made on behalf of one of her constituents.

At the board’s executive committee meeting yesterday, however, she asked that the topic be removed from discussion.


President-elect Donald Trump railed against sanctuary cities as part of his quest to stop or greatly impede illegal immigration. In such cities, which include San Francisco and New York, local policing agencies refrain from cooperating in the deportation of foreigners who are in this country illegally.

Mr. Trump proved unpopular in major cities — Republicans have for years — but he won the election by capturing the support of rural and suburban voters in overwhelming fashion.

Mr. Trump won every precinct in Leelanau County, which is decidedly rural.

But what if Leelanau County became a safety zone and haven for undocumented migrants? Are we prepared to provide housing for a flood of migrants when we don’t have places for our present working class to live? Would job markets be swamped, resulting in lower wages for workers here legally? Is our present social safety net in any position to take care of a steady stream of newfound residents?

Ms. Rentenbach apparently supported the creation here of a sanctuary county. Otherwise, why make plans to initiate the discussion? She pulled back after discussing the issue with the county prosecutor and sheriff. She said she learned the issue is mute here because of how federal laws are enforced.

From a newspaper standpoint, the topic would be interesting to cover. But support for the proposition would hardly be representative of county opinion.

In fact, most Americans want national borders that mean something. And most Leelanautes don’t want a county border that alienates us from the rest of the country.

Instead, let’s move to a discussion about something that we can all agree on.

Affordable housing, anyone?

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