WI bill calls for limiting the cooperation of state and local law enforcement officers with federal immigration enforcement

Sources in Madison inform some legislators are circulating a proposed bill, seeking other lawmakers to sign on as co-sponsors. From their co-sponsorship memo:

It is the responsibility of the state legislature to ensure the protection of all Wisconsinites, regardless of immigration status. To do so, our communities rely on having an open dialog between neighbors and police. Unfortunately, our state’s various law enforcement agencies have not held clear or consistent policies when dealing with immigrants.

As the federal government has beefed up its crusade against our undocumented neighbors, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has requested state, county, and local law enforcement agencies assist them in their efforts to detain and deport individuals. These requests are referred to as “detainers” and are used by ICE to hold an immigrant suspected of being in the country without authorization for up to 48 hours after that immigrant would otherwise be entitled to be released so that ICE can take custody of the immigrant. Often times, these detainer requests are not accompanied by a warrant signed by the judiciary. As demonstrated in Palacios-Valencia v. San Juan County, local agencies that comply with warrantless ICE detainers can face considerable financial damages.

In Wisconsin, between the years 2005 to 2017, state, county, and local law enforcement agencies had received 10,299 requests for detainment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Additionally, a 2017 study published by the Wisconsin American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) showed that of the 63 counties that responded to a survey, 29 counties did not have a formal policy in regards to ICE detainers.

Under President Trump’s Administration, ICE has gained global notoriety for human rights violations. The agency has made a practice of ripping infants and children away from their guardians in addition, ICE has systematically denied detainees of all ages appropriate medical care, hygiene supplies, food, and more while corralling them in overcrowded rooms and cages.

Due to the lack of policy consistency within Wisconsin law enforcement agencies and the importance of protecting the constitutional and human rights of our neighbors, the Wisconsin Legislature has a duty to enact LRB 3246 to ensure the safety of our constituency.

To be added on as a co-sponsor of this legislation, please reply to this email by 5:00pm on Thursday, August 14. All co-sponsors will be added to the corresponding companion bill unless otherwise noted.

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

This bill limits the extent to which the Department of Justice and local law enforcement officers may cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities.

Under the bill, DOJ may not authorize a state or local law enforcement officer to assist a federal immigration officer in immigration enforcement activities, and the department must publish a model policy for local governments to adopt on limiting assistance with such activities.  The bill defines “immigration enforcement” as any action taken by federal or state or local law enforcement officers related to the investigation or enforcement of any federal civil immigration law or any federal criminal immigration law that penalizes an individual’s presence in, entry or reentry to, or employment in the United States.

Also under the bill, no city, village, town, or county (political subdivision) may authorize or permit its law enforcement officers to assist a federal immigration officer in immigration enforcement activities, nor may a sheriff or deputy provide such assistance.  In addition, neither a sheriff, a deputy, nor a state or local law enforcement officer may engage in activities related to the investigation, interrogation, detention, or arrest of an individual for any purpose related to immigration enforcement, including actions related to determining whether an individual has satisfactory immigration status and detaining an individual on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold request.  Under the bill, satisfactory immigration status means determining whether a non-U.S. citizen is lawfully present in the United States.

Finally, the bill requires a political subdivision to adopt and implement the DOJ’s model policy related to limiting assistance with immigration enforcement activities.

The party sponsoring this proposal is in the minority in both house of the Legislature so the bill is DOA. Even so, the intent is revealing, albeit not surprising.



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