Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Says It's Not Immigration Enforcement, But MPD Indicates It's Immigration Enforcement Strategy

Milwaukee Mayor Barrett's office released the Milwaukee Police Department Standard Operating Procedure, which indicates it's an immigration enforcement strategy or in reality immigration persecution.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

July 5, 2017

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - On Wednesday, the Milwaukee mayor's office released the Milwaukee Police Department Standard Operating Procedure (MPDSOP), which indicates a new policy initiative aimed at immigration enforcement without partnering with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 287(g) program, according to Mayor Tom Barrett's press release. Barrett in a press release statement that "The City's policy has been and will continue to be that it does not enforce immigration laws. That is the role of the government...immigration enforcement is not part of that effort...Milwaukee will not seek to have its officers deputized to enforce immigration laws under the federal 287(g) program..."
The MPDSOP Policy (A) indicates that "It shall be the policy of the Milwaukee Police Department to implement an immigration enforcement strategy that is consistent with the mission for reducing the levels of crime, fear, and disorder in the city of Milwaukee."
Police will be allowed to seek legal status from suspected gang members, those arrested for a misdemeanor involving the possession of a dangerous weapon, a terrorism act, offense involving entry or fraudulent assimilation of undocumented foreigners into the country and a previous deported felon. Police can contact ICE and will turn over suspected individuals or immigrants to the feds.
The MPD says the SOP is targeted at reducing fear, but in reality it will cause fear from immigrants who will avoid any contact with police to report a crime for fear of being detained as undocumented foreigners and turned over to ICE for deportation. Also the MPDSOP opens the door for officers to illegally profile immigrants, and criminals will also target immigrants simply because they will believe such crimes committed against the undocumented, especially sexual assault of female immigrants won't be reported to police for fear of being detained and deported.
Mayor Barrett says it's not immigration enforcement, but according to the MPDSOP, it's immigration enforcement strategy, in other words the MPD will engage in immigration persecution, according to immigration rights activists.
A demonstration and press conference was held on Wednesday at City Hall by Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant and workers right organization, and the a local LULAC Council. They opposed the new MPDSOP policy.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) reported on Wednesday that Attorney Marisabel Cabrera who is also a Milwaukee Fire and Police Commissioner had stated that the city attorney had requested a MPDSOP policy change to comply with federal immigration laws. Cabrera wrote in an email to the MJS that, “This entire process has been intentionally secretive and undemocratic and completely undermines the (commission’s) statutorily granted powers,” Cabrera said in an email, “On top of that, it was an unnecessary and borderline malicious exercise as the (policy) was never out of compliance.”
Cabrera and other commissioners were informed that they would get an opportunity to review the policy before being implemented, but later Cabrera discovered that the policy had been already approved by the city attorney, Mayor Barrett and Police Chief Flynn. Steven DeVougas, the Chairman of the Fire and Police Commission had also signed it into policy without notifying the other 6 members of the commission, which Cabrera had questioned the lack of transparency process and legality.

Update: Facebook video link for the July 7, German Sánchez interview with Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the executive director from Voces de la Frontera (VDLF). Neumann-Ortiz told Sánchez during interview in minute 13:31 that Alderman José Pérez first learned about the MPD Standard Operating Procedure (MPDSOP) policy that authorized Milwaukee police officers to act as ICE agents 9 days before Wednesday's (July 5) press conference at City Hall and Ald. Pérez contacted Neumann-Ortiz and Darryl Morin from LULAC who began to negotiate with Mayor Tom Barrett a Democrat to withdraw the MPDSOP policy. They knew about the MPDSOP policy change the Monday before the Madison Rally against AB190/SB275 on June 28.
Also, the cities of Madison and Whitewater have similar SOP policies like Milwaukee.
Today, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) in Wisconsin under Police Chief Edward Flynn takes up to 8-months for U-Visa request certification that a victim has aided an investigation of a crime. The U.S. Congress approved a U-Visa for victims of a crime to cooperate in criminal investigations without fear of deportation. Sometimes the MPD has even denied U-Visa certifications to victims of a crime, Hispanic News Network U.S.A. has learned.

Here are all the links to documents and the City of Milwaukee letter sent to USDOJ on MPD SOP immigration enforcement policy provided courtesy of Voces de la Frontera

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