Angela España with her two US citizen children. Angela was detained and placed in deportation proceedings after she came to the Milwaukee County Courthouse to support her mother, who had a hearing that day. (Photo: Voces de la Frontera)
According to multiple community members and media reports, federal immigration officials in plain clothes have been routinely questioning people they suspect of being undocumented in county courthouses in Racine, Ozaukee, Walworth, and Milwaukee counties, detaining them, and placing them in deportation proceedings.
Without identifying themselves as federal agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers have been questioning people about their immigration status, and sometimes detaining people appearing in court for minor traffic violations, as well as family court.
In one instance, ICE agents detained a woman with no criminal record who was accompanying her mother at a hearing.
By making immigrants afraid to go to court or contact law enforcement, these practices undermine public safety when people are afraid to report crimes as victims or witnesses or are denied protections from the court from cases such as domestic violence. This is a violation of human and constitutional rights, regardless of immigration status. By making people afraid to appear in court, these practices jeopardize immigration status and hope of legalizing in the future.
Voces members rallied outside of President Obama’s recent Wisconsin visit calling on the President for executive action to stop deportations.
Milwaukee, WI –
In response to the 2014 State of the Union address, Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz issued the following statement:
“We applaud President Obama’s proposed minimum wage hike in the fight against income inequality, and for economic justice for the working poor. His action shows that President Obama can use executive orders such as that one to achieve victories for the people who elected him in the face of obstruction by the most unpopular Congress in history.
We call on him to do the same with today’s deportation crisis, and use his legal executive authority to provide real relief for America’s immigrant families, who are being torn apart at historic levels since he took office campaigning on federal immigration reform.