MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — In a Monday, August 13th, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt seemed to threaten criminal charges against Voces de la Frontera Action for sending a mailer to voters condemning his office’s collaboration with the Trump Administration and ICE in the separation of Milwaukee families. Reporter Dan Bice writes:
Acting Milwaukee County Sheriff Richard Schmidt is calling on his chief opponent, Earnell Lucas, to denounce a mailer from the pro-immigration Voces de la Frontera [Action]. The flyer features a well-known photoshop picture of President Donald Trump with his arm around Schmidt’s shoulder. [….] “The mailer is a fraudulent and potentially criminal act by deceiving the public during an election,” Schmidt wrote in all caps (emphasis added).Strong stuff, even though the flyers are almost certainly not criminal. The bar for a court to find campaign rhetoric illegal is very, very high.
“It is disturbing for someone who is seeking to become a law enforcement authority to threaten criminal charges against organizers for exposing his true record when it comes to civil rights violations,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action. “This is something Clarke or Trump would threaten. It shows precisely why we need a clean break with the past. The public has a right to know Schmidt’s true record when it comes to ICE collaboration, human rights violations, and the deaths in the county jail.”
According to recently released federal records, Schmidt received 84 requests from ICE to hand over Milwaukee residents for deportation and separation from their families from September 1, 2017, the day he took office, through April of this year. According to the non-partisan Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office accepts ICE detainer requests, notifies ICE when immigrant community members are released, and has no limits on ICE interrogation or prohibitions against residents about immigration status. Federal courts have repeatedly found ICE detainer requests to be unconstitutional, and Schmidt’s collaboration with ICE makes the county vulnerable to civil rights litigation.