DPD: Most undocumented immigrants who commit minor crimes not at risk of deportation

Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

Clarification: Detroit police say they rarely check for the immigration status of people who commit misdemeanors, so most suspects of minor crimes aren’t at risk.  

Undocumented immigrants who are suspected of committing even minor crimes in Detroit won’t necessarily be protected from President Trump’s mass deportation plans because Detroit Police Chief Jams Craig has pledged to work with federal authorities when they request help.

Craig, who was among law enforcement leaders who met with President Trump last week, said he will continue to cooperate with federal officials who request the names of undocumented immigrants who commit crimes.

Craig told WDIV that Trump was “very positive, very supportive.”

More than 300 municipalities, including the nation’s five largest cities, are refusing to alert federal authorities about undocumented immigrants who commit low-level crimes. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio even threatened to sue Trump’s administration over his order to limit funding to so-called sanctuary cities that protect undocumented immigrants.

Leaders in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston have pledged they won’t work with immigration officials on minor, nonviolent crimes.

Mayor Mike Duggan declined to comment, but a source within the administration said the police department continues to prohibit its officers from asking non-suspects for proof of citizenship. Duggan also was one of the first mayors to invite Syrian refugees to the city.

Immigration advocates argue that non-citizens are less likely to report crime, ask for help or cooperate with authorities when police departments cooperate with federal authorities. Evidence even suggests that sanctuary cities are safer because of this.

Protesters plan to rally Friday outside of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement center in Detroit to oppose deportation plans.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.