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Milwaukee, WI — On Tuesday, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office announced in a letter that they will no longer be honoring Immigration and Customs Enforcmeent (ICE) detainer requests, which the Trump Administration has used to separate hundreds of Milwaukee immigrant families. Instead, Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt announced that his deputies will now notify ICE even in absence of a judge’s warrant when they are about to release someone ICE has targeted for deportation, giving ICE hours to come and arrest the person for deportation and separation from their family.
In the words of Acting Sheriff Schmidt’s new policy directive announced Tuesday:
Once an inmate has been scheduled for release, and there is no legal basis to hold the person in custody, but the Jail has received a detainer rquest from ICE, ICE officials will be contactd immediately and the inmate will be processed for release. ICE officials may have an opportunity to pick up that inmate because on average, it takes approximately 2-3 hours to process an inmate for release, depending upon intake and release volumes on a given day.
“This new policy games the system by continuing collaboration with ICE in the separation of families,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “This is a concession to our movement’s pressure, but notifying ICE about a person’s release so ICE can arrest them in the lobby or outside will still aid Trump’s campaign of terror against immigrant families. Tens of thousands of Latinx and immigrant families and supporters did not organize two general strikes against 287g, organize against Sheriff Clarke’s use of detainer requests, and work hard for the election of a pro-immigrant Sheriff just for the Sheriff’s Office to create a sham policy. We call on Acting Sheriff Schmidt to amend this policy to not share information with ICE in absence of a judge’s warrant. This is precisely why so many progressives supported Earnell Lucas for Milwaukee County Sheriff, because he has committed to not comply with warrantless ICE detainer requests or notification requests.”