(This story has been updated with the information in bold face.)
By BERL SCHWARTZ
THURSDAY, April 13 — Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said today that by reversing its sanctuary city declaration, the City Council has sent a message of “don’t count on us” to the immigrant community.
But the mayor said he does not intend to veto the resolution.
“I’m frankly embarrassed for the city,” Bernero said today in a taping of the “City Pulse Newsmakers” TV show. “Regardless of what side you’re on, it’s ridiculous.”
But Bernero said was “not inclined” to veto the new resolution.
“To veto a symbolic resolution, which to me is a statement of will, just doesn’t sit well with me. To me, it’s anti-democratic. The Council, albeit with all its worts, is a reflection of the people. I am and they are.”
The Council had unanimously approved a resolution last week that declared Lansing a sanctuary city after Bernero issued an executive order stating that Lansing would not ask residents about their legal status or pursue illegal immigrants sought by federal authorities unless they had allegedly committed major crimes.
But last night, the Council reversed itself, 5-2, by removing its sanctuary city declaration from the resolution, which calls Lansing a “Welcoming City.”
Bernero, who is not seeking reelection, specifically singled out Councilwoman At-Large Judi Brown Clarke, who is running for mayor, for changing her vote.
“The rationale given by Judi Brown Clarke that we found out that it’s divisive or that we found out that it’s polarizing — what part of this did you miss, what part of the national conundrum did you miss?” he said.
“How could you possibly, any of you, done your due diligence and not have known that it was controversial, that it was polarizing? Leaders are called upon to make controversial decisions. “It happens. That’s why you delayed for weeks or months, I thought, so you could get it right.”
Asked what message it sends to the immigrant community, Bernero said: “Don’t count on us, that you’re on your own.”
The entire interview will air at 10:30 a.m. Saturday on MY18 and will also be posted on www.lansingcitypulse.com tomorrow.