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Michigan State Immigration Laws

Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of Michigan's immigration laws. If you're learning about immigration law, it's important to know about state and federal laws, It's also essential to look at how federal law enforcement and local law enforcement officials interact to enforce immigration laws.

Below, you will find information on the following immigration-related issues:

Law Enforcement and Immigration in Michigan

Federal immigration authorities typically deal with immigration enforcement. But an increasing number of local and county law enforcement officials are starting to help with this. They are also starting to investigate or pursue suspected immigration-related offenses. Understand that federal and local law enforcement officials may work together.

A federal program once required all arrestees' names to be put into a database. This program was "Secure Communities." The database checked immigration statuses. Former President Donald Trump renewed the program by executive order in 2017. But President Joe Biden revoked that executive order in 2021.

Today, another program is in effect. The Criminal Apprehension Program doesn't apply to arrestees. It only applies to people convicted of crimes. When people are convicted, their information goes through the database. This database checks their immigration status.

Information in this system may be shared with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It may also be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Employment Checks

Under federal law, employers should refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules. They should also refer to the requirements for Form I-9.

Michigan E-Verify Requirements

Most employers do not have to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration statuses of applicants or employees. But in state transportation jobs, applicants and workers must undergo these checks. Remember that they must only do so if they are contractors or subcontractors. The following three counties do those employment-based checks:

  • Ingham County
  • Macomb County
  • Oakland County

Driver's License/ID Requirements

Generally, applicants for a new driver's license or ID must show documents with their Social Security number. Applicants can show proof of legal presence in the United States. They must also prove Michigan residency. See the Michigan Secretary of State website for more information. It details the specific types of documents required for each category.

Public Benefits Restrictions

Under federal law, most immigrants can't get public benefits. But they can get emergency services. They are also allowed to get health care and other programs that are "necessary to protect life and safety."

Education Restrictions

Michigan law doesn't dictate whether state schools must charge students without documentation in-state or out-of-state tuition. But some colleges in the state offer reduced tuition to qualifying students.

DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It protects eligible young adults from deportation after their parents brought them to the United States as children. It also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods. Those periods of work authorization are renewable. Learn more about DACA from USCIS's FAQ page.

U visas are available to victims of human trafficking. U visa holders are given temporary protected statuses. Those here under a U visa can get in-state tuition.

If you're a victim of domestic violence, you can seek a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). If you think a U visa or VAWA applies to you, hire an immigration attorney.

Voting ID Rules

Michigan has a strict photo ID law that requires voters to present a driver's license or a state ID card. Other acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Passport
  • Another current state ID
  • Student ID card
  • Military ID

A voter who does not have one of the acceptable types of ID can still vote but must sign an affidavit.

Housing Ordinances and Immigration

In Michigan, landlords are not required to check the immigration statuses of applicants or tenants.

Related Legal Resources

Need More Help? Contact a Lawyer

The U.S. immigration system can be confusing. Seeking legal assistance from immigration lawyers can be useful under any immigration-related circumstance. Maybe you're dealing with a possible deportation in immigration court and need immigration relief. Possibly you're pursuing a visa or U.S. citizenship. Perhaps you're even facing removal proceedings.

An immigration attorney can help you during your regular dealings with USCIS, such as naturalization or adjustment of status.

If you can't afford an attorney, you still have options. Some attorneys work on a pro-bono basis. An attorney working pro bono gives clients legal services for free. Also, many nonprofit organizations offer these services. Contact Michigan State Legal Aid, a nonprofit, or the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center if you need more help finding low-cost or free legal assistance for low-income people.

Advocacy and legal services are often available in Spanish. It's important for noncitizens to know their rights. Whether you're in Kalamazoo, Lansing, Detroit, or elsewhere in the state, immigration matters are difficult to handle on your own.

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