Protesters call to prevent Waukesha deputies from acting as immigration agents

NOW: Protesters call to prevent Waukesha deputies from acting as immigration agents

Protesters gathered in Waukesha from all over the state to speak on ICE agents, immigration and sanctuary cities. Many calling on the Waukesha County Sheriff to not allow local deputies to act as immigration agents. 

Hundreds of protesters came out along with the group Voces De La Frontera. They gathered outside of an the event Sunday where Governor Scott Walker announced his bid for re-election. Many are are calling on the Waukesha County Sheriff to not allow deputies to act as immigration agents because they are scared for what it could mean to Hispanics in the area.

Among hundreds speaking out in Waukesha Sunday was 15-year-old Jazmin and her parents. Jazmin's originally from Mexico and now she works hard in school in hopes of going to college.

"In Mexico there is so much violence," Jazmin said. "There's nothing we can do over there." 

Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson applied to partner with ICE, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If approved, a small group of deputies that primarily work in jail would be allowed to act as immigration agents. They would receive 4 weeks of training in immigration law and federal enforcement practices. Hearing that news upset many families including Jazmin's. 

"I am really mad," Jazmin said. "That is not right to separate families." 

Protesters traveled from all across the state. The group, Voces De La Frontera organized the protest.

"We're just talking about public fear here," said Jennifer Estrada of Voces De La Frontera. "You can't deputize our local law enforcement. That's creating fear between our community and our law enforcement. No one is going to thrive on that." 

Under the 287 (g) program, local deputies can help enforce immigration laws. There are different variations. The task force model allows officers to approach people in their every day activities.The jail enforcement model allows allows deputies to interrogate people who have been arrested on state or local charges. The Waukesha County Sheriff applied for the model that only involves people who are arrested.

In a statement the sheriff said in part:

My request does not create a local immigration force. Within the community seeking to deport non-criminals. The model does not contemplate engaging in in sweeps or round-ups looking for non-criminal illegal aliens.

But, for many they're worried about what it could mean to have local law enforcement officers acting as immigration agents in their neighborhood.

Earlier this year, Sheriff Severson denounced the 287 (g) program. He said in a statement that he was speaking about the task force model, not the jail enforcement model, which is what he applied for. 

We do not know if the application has been approved. 

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