Dozens of Latinos and Arab Americans joined faith leaders from around Michigan at the state Capitol Tuesday to call on lawmakers to reject an immigration bill in the state House that is similar to the controversial immigration law in Arizona.
The House Republican proposal would require police officers to question people about their immigration status if there is a suspicion that the person could be an undocumented worker.
Imam Mohammed Mardini of the American Islamic Center in Dearborn says that would divert law enforcement from serious crimes.
"Do we really want legalized racial profiling?" he asks.
Mardini says the Arizona law has caused a lot of problems with how to determine who should be targeted.
"One Congressman suggested that you could tell an undocumented immigrant by their shoes," Mardini says. "Let us face it - the police aren't going to be pulling over any suspected Canadians."
"There's nothing racist about this bill," says Republican state Representative Dave Agema. "I don't care who you are. They question you have to ask those people who are against this bill, 'What are you hiding? Why are you hiding who you're hiding?'"
"You're going to after anyone who happens to be here illegally and they've already broken a law, that's why the police officer has detained them," he says.
Agema says his proposal would save the state money in health care costs for illegal immigrants, but the protesters say it would cost the state money in additional law enforcement personnel.
Governor Rick Snyder says he wants to bring more immigrants to the state who have advanced degrees.
Opponents of tougher immigration laws from northern Michigan worry about justice, and possible repercussions for farmers.
The Reverend Justin Grimm is pastor of Advent Lutheran Church in Lake Ann.
"Jesus is pretty clear about the need to welcome all people to love all people and to me this is against that," Grimm says. "So my engagement comes from my own faith and my own life as a human and my need to speak out for what I see as wrong."
Josh Wunsch, a cherry and apple grower on Old Mission Peninsula, worries the proposed law could make workers hard to find, particularly in good economic times. He says in 1990s, when jobs were plentiful, farm workers were scarce.
"We had fruit that was not harvested for the fresh markets and had to be consigned to the processed market because the workforce was not available," he says.