Milwaukee, Wisconsin — On Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security rejected an application to give Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputies authority to separate immigrant families under the 287g program. DHS approved 287g applications from Waukesha County and 22 other jurisdictions nationwide. The Trump Administration is attempting to expand the 287g program nationwide to deputize local law enforcement as agents in their campaign of mass deportation and terror against immigrant families.
Dozens of immigrant community members and their families rallied in Milwaukee Thursday evening to call on Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt to publicly declare he will no longer seek 287g authorization, and for Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson to withdraw his application for the program. Click here to see video of the rally. Click here for photos by Joe Brusky.
“This victory in Milwaukee is a result of our efforts to give voice to the families who have suffered terrible human rights violations at the hands of the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “We continue to call on Sheriff Severson to not sign the 287g agreement in Waukesha, and we urge Governor Walker to block the state bill AB190, which is very similar to 287g.
“We defeated a similar bill last year through the Day without Latinos, Immigrants, and Refugees statewide general strike,” continued Neumann-Ortiz. “Our two strikes this year helped push David Clarke out, expose his abuses, and defeat this application. But with AB190 moving forward, we are preparing in our 8 chapters statewide for a more sustained strike. If there is movement at the state level on AB190, or if Sheriff Severson signs the 287g agreement, we will organize a statewide strike for at least two days. We will make sure there is no hate in the dairy state.”
“DHS rejecting this application is the best news I’ve heard all week, but the fight doesn’t stop here,” said Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West. “We will move forward and try to pass legislation that makes it so 287g won’t come back, that makes sure no other application is submitted, and if one is submitted, that there’s no funding in order to do it. I don’t think that Sheriff Schmidt will resubmit the application. I think the denial by DHS sends a very strong message. The county board doesn’t support 287g and we won’t support it. I’m very pleased to keep working with Voces and all of you to do what is just.”
“As a father, I’m worried that this anti-immigrant, racist 287g program will destroy our Waukesha County families,” said José Flores of Waukesha, the President of Voces de la Frontera. “We want to touch Sheriff Severson’s heart and urge him to not sign the agreement to start this program, which will end up separating so many families. We will keep fighting against hate.”
“As a center, we strongly oppose any efforts to enlist state or local authorities in the enforcement of civil immigration laws in Milwaukee County,” said Mariana Rodriguez of the UMOS Latina Resource Center, which serves Latina victims of domestic violence and human trafficking and their children. “287g would make victims afraid of asking police for help. We want victim and community safety and we want to hold perpetrators accountable. Sheriff Schmidt, we urge you to reject 287g for the sake of domestic violence victims.”
“Black, brown and immigrant communities are living in an apartheid state and 287g aims to further the level of oppression with police-sanctioned racial profiling,” said Lisa Jones of Uplifting Black Liberation and Community, or UBLAC. For the beloved community we must invest in people, not profiling. Sheriff Schmidt we urge you to reject 287g and racial profiling, and stand with black, brown and immigrant communities.”
Click here to see a letter from Voces de la Frontera and 8 other Milwaukee community organizations urging DHS to reject Milwaukee County’s 287g application. Click here to see a similar letter against the Waukesha application.