- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A southeast Michigan county has given initial approval to new policies to help immigrants, both legal U.S. residents or those living in the country illegally, feel welcome.

The Washnetaw County Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday on a package of three resolutions, the Ann Arbor News (https://bit.ly/2pcHSV9 ) reported.

The first resolution urges Congress to adopt immigration reforms that restrict deportation actions to people charged with aggravated felonies and expand opportunities for legal immigration.

The other resolutions support the national Welcoming America initiative, which promotes cooperation and respect between foreign- and native-born people in the U.S., and providing equal services regardless of ethnicity, immigration status or physical characteristics.

Taxpayer money is expected to go toward programs to aid immigrants, including those living in the U.S. illegally who might face deportation. A specific dollar amount wasn’t provided, but a memo accompanying the package says the board’s actions will result in appropriations of about $135,200 from the general fund’s cash reserves.

Some opponents of the new policies argued that immigrants living in the country illegally take jobs from U.S. citizens, and that supporting them would look bad to people who arrive in the country legally.

The county has nearly 44,000 foreign-born residents, according to a memo from Commissioner Conan Smith, D-Ann Arbor. Smith argued that roughly 25,800 of those immigrants live in the U.S. illegally and are the most vulnerable under current tactics by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Washnetaw County denounces expanded immigration actions by the federal government that destabilize our communities by creating an atmosphere of fear and isolation for our residents from other countries and their families regardless of their immigration status,” one resolution reads.

Final approval for the resolutions is scheduled May 17.


Information from: The Ann Arbor News, https://www.mlive.com/ann-arbor

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