Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Police Chief Mike Koval said Wednesday that the city’s policies regarding immigration will not change in light of the election, while City Attorney Michael May said he will be researching impacts of possible changes in federal immigration policy.
The three officials held a press conference Wednesday with several city alders to address the issue. Soglin said Madison will continue to be a member of a coalition of cities across the country that protects citizens regardless of their status in the U.S.
“When it comes to law enforcement and the protection of people residing within the city of Madison, we are going to respond in a lawful and dignified matter,” Soglin said. “And that means we encourage all people who feel they need the protection of the city to avail themselves of all of our resources.”
May noted when the state Legislature tried passing a bill last year preempting “sanctuary cities” that Madison did not meet the definition. He said the city will try to maintain its current policies, but that a lot depends on how the federal government addresses and defines immigration policy.
May also noted he thinks there has been an “uptick” around the nation of attacks since the election.
“I think we have to be vigilant for all sorts of folks, people of color, we’ve got certain religions are being attacked,” May said. “Everyone has to be vigilant to watch for people’s civil rights.”
Koval highlighted that MPD is not an immigration authority and that he spoke with the Chicago Immigration and Customs Enforcement office when he was elected.
"We are certainly never going to use our police authorities as a mechanism for using lawful means to stop people in traffic, to contact people who are walking in and about our community owing to the basis of some suspected immigration issue,” Koval said.
Koval said MPD would help apprehend suspects who are immigrants in more serious
Ald. Samba Baldeh, District 17, said he is working with other alders to host a forum that will inform citizens of their rights. Baldeh, who is an African Muslim immigrant, said several legal immigrants have asked if they will be deported despite the fact that the government cannot do so.
“Local government needs to engage their citizens. They need to educate them on their rights. They need to let them know what the law says,” Baldeh said.