Muskegon Co. tables resolution to become Welcoming County

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Hours before the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners was scheduled to consider a resolution to affirm the county as welcoming to immigrants, commissioners voted to remove the resolution from the meeting agenda.

According to Commissioner Marcia Hovey-Wright, who introduced the resolution, she made the decision to add the word “legal” before “immigrant” in the resolution to appeal to the Republican commissioners who claimed the resolution would be the first step to making Muskegon County a sanctuary county.

In order to give the resolution time to be reviewed by the county attorney, Hovey-Wright and Commissioner Susie Hughes decided to remove the resolution from the Tuesday meeting agenda.

Hovey-Wright said she hopes the legal review will be completed in time for next month’s meeting.

“This has nothing to do with sanctuary cities. That was made up,” Hovey-Wright said.

Still, she said the only way the resolution will get bipartisan support is to change its language.

Hovey-Wright said adding the word “legal” to the resolution “takes a lot of power out of it.”

She said the goal for the county is to be a diverse and welcoming county that respects the innate dignity of all people, including immigrants.

The resolution says there will be community efforts that promote understanding and collaboration between native-born and foreign-born community members.

You can see the resolution here.

According to a flyer shared with us by residents, becoming a Welcoming County is just the first step toward becoming a Sanctuary County.

In the resolution, the commissioner says Muskegon County is home to organizations led by and serving immigrants and refugees.

Despite the resolution being tabled for now, residents overflowed the county commission meeting room into the hallway well before the county commission meeting started at 3:30 p.m. Many said they came to give public comment on the resolution.

“I couldn’t believe they actually wanted to welcome more illegals in here. There’s just been too much problems in sanctuary cities,” said resident Sandy Johnson, who opposes the resolution. “I’ve just heard too much negativity and I don’t think it’s good for Muskegon County. We have enough homeless already. We don’t really need more people who sponge off the government. That’s how I look at it.”

The county encourages businesses, civic groups, schools , government agencies, and other community institutions to make Muskegon County a welcoming and diverse place for new residents from other counties.

On its Facebook page on Monday, the Muskegon County Republican Party encouraged people to contact their commissioner to let them know their thoughts on the resolution.

Progress Michigan, a progressive marketing department issued the following statement by its executive director Lonnie Scott on the resolution:

“Passing a resolution to make a city more welcoming to immigrants and refugees is the first step in embracing diversity and valuing the dignity of people who want to call Michigan home. There is a growing Latinx community on the West side of the state, and in these times when families are worried about being separated, Muskegon should swiftly pass this resolution and tell its residents that they value them, no matter the circumstances.”

The man who wrote the resolution, Don Munski, said adding the word “legal” weakens its original intent.

“I think the problem with adding ‘legal’ is that it differentiates us and that’s not necessary and it’s now about legal or undocumented people being in the country,” Munski said. “It’s about welcoming everyone because there are people in this community who are discriminated against and they have been longtime members of the community.”

Munski said he sees a need to brand Muskegon County as a welcoming place to all people.

“There is racism in Muskegon County, unfortunately but that’s reflected only because it’s all in the world and in the United States we have racism,” Munski said.

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    • J.B.

      BTW..Legal immigrants do not have to live in a “sanctuary”…they can live anywhere they want.
      What Muskegon Co. wants is a place where known criminals can come and try to hide from the law.
      Much like it is already.

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  • Kevin Rahe

    Is this an implicit admission that the county wasn’t welcoming before? I don’t remember which county they settled in first, but my grandparents immigrated to Michigan about a century ago, and my great-grandparents on the other side a few decades before that, and I never heard any stories about them not being welcomed here. ??

    Perhaps we should have a clearinghouse of contacts and services that we can provide to new visa recipients to help them find their way around, learn our customs and language and integrate into society.

  • stop the silliness

    I don’t understand. Who says Muskegon Co isn’t welcoming? Driving thru, you see a diverse population now. Maybe they don’t have those aliens from Area 51 but Muskegon have everything else. I guess someone is looking for relevance and a pat on the back. Pft, whatever!

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  • Rj

    In other words you are going to see citizens of Muskegon being killed and children raped, then the illegals will be set free to do it all over again. You will also see the infectious diseases shoot thru the roof like they have in this country. It’s called the strong city initiative people, the initiative the U.N. And Osama implemented to fill these cities with people who continue to install corrupt anti Americans to further transform this country into a lawless playground. If you go out and commit crimes you go to jail, if you are illegal and commit crimes you are set free.

  • Jim Bissell

    they mean ILLEGAL immigrants.. well they can have them.. we prefer the legal kind.. they are more prepared to live here, better educated, want to stay and fit in, and are not already proven criminals

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  • Robert DeWitt

    Ir really bothers me when people who are voted into office decide which laws they will and will not uphold. This resolution would violate known federal law. I have observed the County Commissioners being sworn into their office and they all said they would uphold the Constitution of the United States, which I would guess means to follow the laws of our land. I have taught our children to always obey the law whither you agree or not with it, unless it violate your moral code of ethics, if you don’t agree with the laws then fight to change them. It pains me to see a country that places illegal immigrants above the law, and it pains me more to see that they will instruct police officers who are hired to protect and serve and uphold the laws of our country to turn a blind eye. Who gives these commissioners the right to violate Federal Laws, and what kind of example does this set for the rest of us in this county? I wish I could pick and choose what laws to obey and which ones to disregard! Please set an example for us to follow, follow the law

  • steve

    The dimwit who initiated this asinine resolution is a Democrat whose education includes master’s degrees in social work. Nothing more needs to be said.

  • Matt

    Government should neither hinder nor aid individuals in their movments. It’s not the job of government to purposefully interfere with people. Only a socialist would support this, Only a socialist would throw terms like legal around. If government has to implement a law or policy it’s called cetralization or socialism.

    • Robert DeWitt

      I find it interesting that they tabled the resolution to check on its legality. Why would they do this if in fact they were actually talking about legal immigrant?. Something is very fishy! We are a welcoming community, does that have to be stated?

  • jerry curl

    Have they ever considered the Heights? Look at the poverty, and now they want to add to it? Not to mention about half the Heights can’t speak what some would call acceptable English.

  • William J Christenson

    “Sarah, get the boxes… We start packing today!”
    No thank you… Not now, not ever… Why would you want to allow people with absolutely ZERO respect for the rule of law to take up residence in your County?

    • Robert DeWitt

      Exactly, I was wondering by what authority they had to violate known federal law. Why do you want our police officers to look the other way and violate their oath and conscience. And why are you violating your oath you took in office to uphold the Constitution and it laws!

  • Arnold

    muskegon county is trying to start a war the surrounding areas tolerate muskegon now but actually declaring it a sanctuary for criminals might change that

  • Robert DeWitt

    “I think the problem with adding ‘legal’ is that it differentiates us and that’s not necessary and it’s now about legal or undocumented people being in the country,” Munski said. “It’s about welcoming everyone because there are people in this community who are discriminated against and they have been longtime members of the community.” First they are not undocumented immigrant they are illegal immigrants who are breaking local and federal law. By not wanting to add “legal” to the resolution shows the true intent of this resolution. I do not understand what authority the board holds but it does not have the power to overlook or bypass the laws of our county or country. Each commissioner when entering the office pledged to uphold the Constitution of America, which implies follow and obey the written laws. Do you as commissioners feel comfortable telling police officers and the people of this county to break laws they object to. I reared our children telling them to obey the laws of the land and if you object work to overturn them, not break them unlawfully. It would appear that those of you who wrote the resolution or voted for it have a lack of integrity and have broken the trust of your constituents who placed you into office. Did you really table the resolution before the meeting or when volumes of people showed up to protest?. They got it right, you were trying to create a sanctuary county!

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