The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office knows that public safety requires maintaining the trust of all residents that we serve. As such, we are committed to building and maintaining trust among non-citizen residents of Washtenaw County, and are committed to advocating for legal structures that ensure trust and safety for everyone. Learn more about our efforts by reading our briefs and statements below.
February 24, 2023: Brief Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Governments’ Ability to Welcome Immigrants
On February 24, 2023, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office joined 31 cities, counties, and municipal organizations on a brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect local governments’ ability to welcome immigrants into their community. The case concerned the constitutionality of a federal law that prohibits “encouraging or inducing” undocumented persons to remain in the United States. The brief highlighted the overbreadth of that provision, noting that it could be interpreted to criminalize state and local policies welcoming immigrants to their communities. Particularly troubling from a law-enforcement perspective, the brief highlighted that the federal law could jeopardize prosecutors’ ability to provide victim services to undocumented crime victims—undermining prosecutors’ ability to successfully obtain a conviction, and discouraging crimes from ever being reported.
August 23, 2022: Amicus Brief Supporting Local Discretion Over Immigration Policies
On August 23, 2022, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office joined the National League of Cities, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and 25 additional local units of government on a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, urging the court to affirm local discretion over immigration matters.
The brief came in a case challenging Florida’s SB 168, which would prevent local units of government from making the decision to decline to coordinate with federal immigration authorities. The brief emphasized that local communities across the country make the decision to collaborate (or not) in immigration-enforcement given the unique needs of their local communities. The brief further emphasized that participation in immigration enforcement makes communities far less likely to trust police, making it much more difficult to solve crimes or prosecute cases.
December 15, 2021: Amicus Brief Supporting DACA
On December 15, 2021, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit joined over 100 current and former prosecutors, chiefs of police, and law-enforcement leaders on a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, urging the court to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA is the Obama-era program allowing “dreamers”—undocumented people brought to the US as kids—the opportunity to step out of the shadows. In many cases, this is the only country they have ever known. And DACA allows them to live life without fear of deportation.
The brief emphasized DACA’s significant public-safety benefits. When people fear deportation, they are less likely to report crime or serve as witnesses in a case. That means serious crime can go unreported and unaddressed—putting all of us in danger. DACA, however, changes that calculus, by allowing Dreamers to report crime and cooperate with law-enforcement without fear of deportation.
November 15, 2021: Letter Supporting Federal Effort to Prioritize Workplace Rights and Safety in Immigration Enforcement
On November 15, 2021, the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office joined 11 state attorneys general and eight local prosecutors and labor-enforcement agencies on a letter supporting the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) plan to change its worksite enforcement practices to support enforcement of wage protections, workplace safety, labor rights, and other employment laws and standards. Among other things, the letter urged DHS and the federal government to put into place safeguards that ensure that employers cannot retaliate against non-citizen workers who report unfair labor practices. It also urged DHS to proactively support non-citizen workers who cooperate with labor law enforcement agencies.
May 3, 2021: Op-Ed Urging an End to Local Immigration Enforcement
On May 3, 2021, Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit co-authored an op-ed in USA Today urging an end to state and local involvement in federal immigration enforcement. The op-ed argued that when local law enforcement officers perform the duties of federal immigration officials, it destroys trust in immigrant communities—and makes noncitizens less likely to report serious crimes. The op-ed urged an end to the federal 287(g) program, which enlists local law enforcement agencies to engage in federal immigration enforcement. The op-ed was co-authored by RaShall M. Brackney, Charlottesville (VA) Chief of Police, and Miriam Aroni Krinsky, the executive director of Fair & Just Prosecution and a former federal prosecutor.
March 17, 2021: Joint Letter Urging an End to Local Immigration Enforcement
On March 17, 2021, Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit joined over 100 elected prosecutors, sheriffs, police leaders, and criminal justice professionals in a letter urging the Department of Homeland Security to end programs that use local and state police to conduct federal immigration enforcement. The letter highlighted that local involvement in immigration enforcement erodes community trust—particularly in immigrant communities—and makes it far less likely that serious crimes will be reported to the police.
February 15, 2021: Amicus Brief Supporting Immigrant Trust Directive
On February 15, 2021, the Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney joined 72 law-enforcement leaders from across the nation on an amicus brief in support of New Jersey’s Immigrant Trust Directive. The Immigrant Trust Directive prevents local law enforcement from arresting, questioning, or detaining any individual based on their immigration status—and prevents prosecutors from using a person’s immigration status against them. The brief argues that it is imperative for local law enforcement to build trust in immigrant communities, and that undermining that trust hampers the ability to ensure public safety.