Lansing, Michigan Mayor Virgil Bernero is scrambling to justify the city’s sanctuary status for illegal immigrants, and he’s invoking some looney excuses for defying federal immigration laws.
Bernero, a union-backed Democrat defeated by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in 2010, appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to discuss the city’s move to become the state’s first sanctuary city.
The Lansing City Council voted unanimously Monday night to protect to defy the Trump administration’s immigration policies despite clear warnings from Attorney General Jeff Sessions about lost federal funding for sanctuary cities.
“The resolution reaffirmed the city’s status as a ‘welcoming city’ to immigrants and refugees and then added the sanctuary status,” The Detroit News reports. “It means the city directs its police and staff not to ask about anyone’s immigration status unless otherwise required to by federal or state law, or by a court order.”
Carlson asked Bernero why he would risk federal funding for the city by ignoring the federal law, and the mayor said immigration “is not a priority for us” and “it’s about building bridges, and not walls.”
Bernero said local law enforcement doesn’t want to be viewed as an “occupying force.”
“We believe in community policing. … This is something my police chief studies, he talks to other chiefs, they’re about building relationships with the community. They’re about police credibility and police legitimacy. So if you’re seen as an occupying force … people don’t trust …,” Bernero said, trailing off as Carlson cut him off.
“I’m sorry, an occupying force in your own country?” Carlson questioned. “People come into your country illegally, and it’s your job to enforce the laws as a police officer and you somehow feel guilty because you’re an occupying force in a city you live in? In a country you’re a citizen of?”
That’s when Bernero went off the rails.
“It’s easy for white men like us to say that, who are in the majority, who enjoy what we enjoy, but the fact is …,” the mayor said as Carlson cut in again.
“I was taking you seriously in the beginning, but this is just buffoonish,” he said. “Now it’s like I’m a white man so my views on this are less material or something?”
“Try to walk in another man’s shoes, though,” Bernero insisted. “Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”
The two talk over each other briefly, and Bernero continued to defend his race-based perspective.
“Do you ever get pulled over for driving while white?” he asked Carlson. “We’re getting into the nitty gritty of policing.”
“It’s not the nitty gritty … you’re repeating bumper stickers you heard from Lena Dunham. Spare me,” Carlson shot back before promptly closing the segment.