Protesters rally to prevent Milwaukee police from partnering with ICE
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- Dozens of people rallied at Milwaukee City Hall on Thursday demanding the Fire and Police Commission make a change in policy when it comes to dealing with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.
Protesters want to change the policy so Milwaukee police cannot use any of their resources for immigration enforcement unless a judicial warrant has been issued for that person. They say when Milwaukee police help ICE agents, it breeds division and fear in the community.
“MPD is complicit in keeping institutional racism going on,” said Lisa Jones with MICAH Milwaukee Inner-city Congregation.
”When immigrants fear contact with MPD might lead to a confrontation with ICE, they’re less likely to call 911 to report a crime,” said Tommy Molina with Voces De La Frontera.
While no action was taken at Thursday’s Fire and Police Commission meeting, Police Chief Alfonso Morales said a draft of the changes he made to the immigration policy are currently being reviewed by the city attorney.
”We’re not just ignoring anyone, however I will end it with this -- policy does not reduce crime or fear, great community relationships reduce crime and fear,” said Chief Morales.
Illegal immigrant Jose De La Cruz was arrested on Sept. 23rd in front of his family. De La Cruz is currently still under ICE custody.
Chief Morales says MPD does not get involved with ICE sweeps, but De La Cruz had a criminal history. The chief says De La Cruz was violating his probation and had an active federal warrant.
”This was assisting another law enforcement agency to make an arrest,” said Chief Morales. “An arrest that would’ve been made regardless if you’re a U.S. citizen or not.”
”When MPD assists ICE, they waste precious police resources in a city with a tight budget,” adds Molina.
Protesters say the change in policy has been delayed over and over again. The matter had been cancelled or re-scheduled numerous times ever since De La Cruz’s arrest.
”They didn’t really give us a reason why they have been very slow and slow to re-schedule it, and that’s troubling to me,” says Molina.
This issue will be addressed at a special committee meeting on Oct. 31st, where more public comment will be allowed and policy recommendations are expected to be made.
To read the Milwaukee Police Department’s current policy click here.