Confused about the status of Detroit as a Welcoming City? Well, you’re not alone. I am too! I was familiar with Sanctuary Cities-cities that does not use city resources to enforce federal immigration laws and will not turn undocumented immigrants for federal detention.
This week, however, Mayor Duggan released a statement stating “The City of Detroit is proud of our status as a Welcoming City, where immigrants from all countries are embraced.” Gold star to the City of Detroit Communication’s Office for the use of “embrace,” it gave me the warm fuzzies! But now that those are gone, what does “embrace” mean? Well, LEGALLY it means NOTHING. According to Welcoming America, the organization offering the Welcoming City status, a Welcoming City is one that uses the following framework: Plans, Commits, Builds Community, Communicates, and Sustains. Again great sounding words, but LEGALLY mean NOTHING.
Detroiters are calling for Mayor Duggan to declare Detroit a Sanctuary City. Under the executive order on immigration issued by President Trump last week, Detroit as a Sanctuary City would lose all federal grant funding. How much funding would be on the line for Detroit? It is time to dust off the old Urban Management degree and look Detroit’s 2015 CAFR. Federal Funds are listed as the following Special Revenue Funds:
Community Development Block Grant ($54,816,337)
Construction Code Fund ($ -)
Urban Development Fund ($11,417,315)
Detroit Workforce Development Fund ($ -)
Drug Law Enforcement Fund ($-)
Human Services Fund ($ -)
Solid Waste Management Fund ($ -)
Street Fund ($55,138,474)
Targeted Business Development Fund ($-)
Telecommunication Fund ($ -)
Renewable Energy Fund ($ -)
Donated Monies Fund ($ -)
Total ($ 55,138,474)
Using 2015 numbers, Detroit would lose about $55 million in grant revenues out of a $2.3 billion dollar in total revenues (about 2%) as a Sanctuary City. Detroit has had a fair share of financial troubles and is justifiable fiscally conservative. Is financial conservatism more important than the guardianship of undocumented city residents? That’s is a question Mayor Duggan will have to answer. . .