Milwaukee sheriff wants officers to have power to enforce immigration ban

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. wants his officers to have power to enforce President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

Image By: Negassi Tesfamichael-Cardinal File Photo

Milwaukee County law enforcement officers may have the power to locally enforce new immigration orders from President Donald Trump if their sheriff gets his way.

David A. Clarke Jr., Milwaukee County sheriff, largely approves of Trump’s new immigration ban, which was announced Monday. The few changes to the order from the previous version—which was subject to legal scrutiny—include removing Iraq from the list of countries banned from entry into the U.S., no longer banning Syrian refugees indefinitely and no longer targeting current visa holders.

Clarke posted his two-page letter on Facebook Wednesday in which he asked a federal official to sign an agreement giving his staff the authority to act as immigration enforcement officers in Milwaukee County jail and throughout the district after the completion of a four-week training program.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program, called 287 (g), would allow officers to interview, arrest and detain anyone they suspect to be in violation of the law.

Clarke stressed that he is “deeply concerned about the potential threats” stemming from immigration.

Like Clarke, UW-Madison’s College Republicans organization stands behind the new immigration ban, calling it a “common sense safety measure.”

College Republican’s communication director Emelia Rohl said in a statement, “The order goes into detail on how this is about safety and preventing terrorist attacks, not about preventing Muslims from entering our country. Our organization stands behind our President in ensuring our nation's safety.”

ICE currently has agreements with 37 law enforcement agencies, none of which are in Wisconsin. Trump’s previous immigration ban in January included initiatives to enhance the 287 (g) program.

Others still have concerns about the new ban and Clarke’s drive to have his staff act as immigration officers. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn expressed concerns earlier this week about employing the 287 (g) program, questioning how it would affect Milwaukee law enforcement’s core mission.

“You can't [protect the community] if you're terrifying them and trying to round them up," Flynn said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Gov. Scott Walker told reporters Thursday that discrepancies between the Milwaukee police chief and sheriff could lead to problems.

“I think in the interest of all the citizens of Milwaukee County I would hope they work together as sheriffs and police chiefs and others do across the state,” Walker told Fox6 News. 

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