The City Council voted 9-0 today to pass a new ordinance that bans profiling people based on race, immigration status, ethnicity, dress and appearance, among other factors.It was developed after talks with local Latino, Arab and Muslim groups, who say that immigrants are sometimes asked for their residency papers after being pulled over by police.
The Detroit-based group, Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength, played a lead role in pushing for the new law, which provides exceptions by allowing police to ask about immigration status in criminal cases.
In recent years, Los Angeles and Chicago have passed similar ordinances, making them what are sometimes referred to as sanctuary cities.
Detroit Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings told the Free Press on Tuesday that she wants to make sure that everyone feels comfortable contacting police when crimes are committed. In some cases, immigrants are reluctant to call police when crimes happen because they fear police will turn them over to federal agents who will deport them.
The chief also said that the department is against profiling and that police should not generally enforce federal immigration laws.
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, said he is pleased with the council’s vote.
“It’s great it passed,” Walid said. “The city of Detroit should be seen as a place that is not hostile to immigrants.”
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Posted by Audrey Hudson at Wednesday, May 09, 2007