In Detroit, Michigan, the Gomez brothers have made a nice life for themselves. They work construction, Monday through Friday, and sometimes Saturday if the work demands it. They even play in a band, playing traditional banda music. As undocumented immigrants, however, they live in constant fear of deportation.
“In the morning, we go to work every day, and we are afraid,” Roberto Gomez tells Fusion. “I say to my little ones, my babies, bye-bye, I give a kiss. Because we don’t know if we’re coming back.”
The Gomez brothers can at least take refuge in Detroit’s relatively friendly policy toward undocumented immigrants—in this “sanctuary city,” enforcing immigration law isn’t high on law enforcement’s priority list.
But legislation working its way through the United States House of Representatives might force these sanctuary cities to reconsider their policy. A bill authored by Rep. Duncan Carter of California would “deny federal grant funding to states with policies that prohibit law enforcement from gathering information about individuals’ immigration status or that contradict federal statute.”
And after undocumented immigrant Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez was charged by law enforcement with the murder of Kathryn Steile in San Francisco, a sanctuary city, the debate over these cities has intensified.
Jim Steinle, Kathryn’s father, spoke to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and “urged Congress to pass tough new laws targeting criminal immigrants.”
The House will vote on the “Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act” Thursday and it is expected to pass.
Video segment produced by Evelyn Baker