Republican Governor Rick Snyder said immigration legislation such as Arizona’s SB 1070 would be “detrimental” to Michigan.
The governor made his remarks before the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce last Thursday, as an anti-immigration bill makes its way through the state legislature. Similar to Arizona’s law, the proposed measure would force police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they detain.
Snyder told the audience that he is against such a bill because it would “encourage a divisive atmosphere.”
Elected to the governorship in November, Snyder faces the challenge of turning around one of the hardest-hit economies in the country and a declining population, as evidenced by the 2010 US Census.
Contrary to his Republican colleagues, who have touted anti-immigrant laws in several states, Snyder has said on more than one occasion that the state needs immigrants.
“We need to celebrate diversity; it’s one of our strengths,” Snyder said, according to published reports. “One of the things I’m proud to say I’m already encouraging, that was in my state of the state message, is the idea of more immigration, particularly for advanced degree people.”
Still, despite the heavy costs to tax-payers associated with immigration laws that have little chance of being upheld by federal courts, which has been the case with SB 1070—now headed into a costly battle at the US Supreme Court—states continue to pass anti-immigrant laws. South Carolina and Georgia are the most recent states to pass such laws.
The Texas House also recently approved a so-called “sanctuary cities” bill that would allow police to question people they detain about their citizenship status and prohibit local governments and police agencies from adopting polices to ban their officers from asking detained people about their immigration status.
Critics have repeatedly said the anti-immigrant measures encourage racial profiling of Latinos and foster anti-Hispanic sentiment.