Michigan House Republicans
Border so open that Grand Traverse deputies are left cleaning up messes
RELEASE|February 28, 2024
Contact: John Roth

State Rep. John Roth today called for stricter laws to protect Michigan residents from the ongoing crisis at the US-Mexico border. Just last week, 19 illegal immigrants were detained after being found on an unmarked bus outside Traverse City. Those individuals were transported to the Sault Ste. Marie Border Patrol Station and are being processed for deportation.

“Grand Traverse County is 1,667 miles and over a 25-hour drive from the US-Mexico border, yet the situation down there is so out of control that our local police are having to deal with busloads of illegal immigrants in our community,” said Roth, R-Interlochen. “The migrants were only apprehended because the bus driver was swerving erratically all over the road. Law enforcement conducted a regular traffic stop and discovered the whole mess. Honestly, the driver could’ve killed someone if a deputy hadn’t been there. We are truly blessed with quality local police that handle all situations, even extremely unordinary ones, with poise and effectiveness.”

Only the driver presented deputies with a Mexican Voter ID card, no one else could provide any substantive identification. The driver was cited for an illegal lane change, but only after local law enforcement contacted Homeland Security and later U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. 

“We don’t know where these people came from, but we do know they didn’t use the legal process to get here,” Roth said. “Local officials told me that this isn’t some isolated incident. This isn’t the first time our local law enforcement has dealt with these situations. It’s scary to think of all the times these buses don’t get pulled over and just keep driving to wherever they’re headed. This is a trend that must stop. It isn’t safe for the people being trafficked across the border or the people already living in our country. Right now, it seems like Traverse City cops are better equipped to handle the illegal immigration crisis than the federal government.”

Roth recently cosponsored legislation, House Bills 5465 and 5466, that would make it a felony to be in the state as an illegal immigrant. The measures are similar to legislative steps taken by the state of Texas.

Border authorities encountered more than 225,000 migrants along the US-Mexico border in December, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics – the highest monthly total recorded since 2000. Daily apprehensions by border authorities often surpassed 10,000.

HBs 5465 and 5466 were referred to the House Government Operations Committee.


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