Milwaukee Police Commission Restores Protections For Undocumented Foreigners

Police officers in Milwaukee will not request legal status from foreigners when they come into contact while doing traffic stops, domestic calls and investigations.

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

July 13, 2017

Milwaukee, WI – On Thursday, the Fire and Police Commission (F&PC) on a 7-0 vote decided to amend and restore the former Police Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) protections for undocumented immigrants that prohibited police officers from asking for legal status, also provided an oversight and accountability for abuse including changing the rules to allow the F&PC to review any new policy from the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) on time.
At City Hall in Milwaukee, hundreds of members of the Latino community, Voces de la Frontera (VDLF), a local LULAC Council, Acción Ciudadana de Wisconsin and allies gathered at the Milwaukee F&PC hearing to support changes for the lack of transparency and information that Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett failed to provide when they approved the MPD SOP on June 21, 2017 authorizing police officers to act like immigration agents and ask for legal status when in contact with suspected foreigners being stopped and investigated for certain violations and criminal histories. Police had been authorized to contact ICE to let them know where those with non-legal status were located. The MPD SOP policy went into effect on July 6th.VDLF released the following press released, “Thursday’s vote amended new MPD policies implemented on July 6th that had been passed with no community input or meaningful oversight by the F&PC, which is charged with overseeing significant changes to police procedures. The changes would have increased collaboration with immigration agents. The F&PC’s vote followed public outcry after the changes were revealed. Voces de la Frontera, the League of Latin American Citizens – Wisconsin, and Aldmeran José Pérez worked with the Mayor’s Office, the F&PC, and the MPD to ensure the protections were restored.”
Mayor Barrett who had approved the MPD SOP policy along with Chief Flynn allowing cops to ask for legal status released the following statement after the F&PC amended the policy to restore undocumented foreigner protections and for police to use discretion in contacting ICE, but would first have to inform a police supervisor. Barrett stated, “I am pleased with the action taken tonight by the members of the Fire and Police Commission. The national changes to immigration policies and the tenor of the immigration debate have left many of us concerned about our Milwaukee neighbors and families. We cannot allow fear and apprehension to cloud the daily lives of people who have chosen Milwaukee as the place to make a better life for themselves and their families.
Milwaukee is a City built by immigrants and a City that continues to grow strong because of our immigrant population. I want to thank the Fire and Police Commission, Chief Flynn and Assistant Chief Harpole, State Representative JoCastaZamarripa, Alderman Jose Perez and members of Milwaukee’s Hispanic Community for tonight’s resolution.”

Video: On Thursday, Luz Sosa, the community organizer for Acción Ciudadana de Wisconsin translated in Spanish at the Fire and Police Commission (F&PC) hearing on Milwaukee Police Department Standard Operating Procedure policy for the Latino Community. The policy was amended by the F&PC to restrict police officers from asking for legal status.

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