2016-12-29 / Letters

Sanctuary county or not, we should be fair and just

To the editor:

From reading the Enterprise, its Editor does not understand the concept of “sanctuary city.” Although there is no precise definition, no “sanctuary city” is a “safe haven” for undocumented individuals. Most immigration law violations are not even criminal offenses; however, persons who commit criminal offenses in a “sanctuary city” are still arrested and prosecuted. No one gets a free pass because of their immigration status and conversely no person is targeted simply because they are suspected of having no legal status. Further, designations as a “sanctuary city” is definitely not a recent development. Cities throughout the United States have designated themselves as “sanctuary cities” since the 1980’s.

Simply, a “sanctuary city” is a municipality that adopts a policy of discouraging local law enforcement from prosecuting a person solely for a violation of a federal immigration law. In such jurisdictions local police officers are not an extension of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); they do not routinely ask about a person’s immigration status; and they do not “stop and frisk” and demand proof of citizenship simply because of a person’s outward appearance.

Regardless of whether Leelanau County becomes a “sanctuary county”, we should strive to maintain our reputation as a fair and just community. Where would our agricultural employers obtain an adequate supply of workers if persons of Hispanic descent were fearful of coming to work here? What would routine requests for immigration documentation do to our tourist industry? How would routine questioning of immigration status build trust in law enforcement?

Prosecutor Hubbell and Sheriff Borkovich should be commended for their fair treatment of all persons who travel through or work and live in Leelanau County. Rather than being excoriated by the Enterprise, Commissioner Rentenbach should be applauded for her concern that Leelanau County remains a welcoming community.

Celeste Crouch
PO Box 99
Glen Arbor

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