MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office will no longer share information about prison detainees with immigration federal officials.
Sheriff Earnell Lucas recently announced that the office will not offer information on detainees to US immigration and customs agents unless there is a valid court order, Wisconsin public radio said. Lucas said he wants to avoid the causes that the forces of the order throughout the country have faced for holding the detainees for an additional 48 hours to allow the agents of the ICE to take custody.
"One of the things we need to do in Milwaukee County is to avoid costly legal disputes and awards," said Lucas, who took office on January 7th. "It's not politics, it's the right thing to do."
But Lucas's policy is a significant departure from his predecessor, David Clarke, a former county sheriff who resigned from office more than a year earlier and joined a political action committee that supports President Donald Trump. Clarke's administration has fully cooperated with the ICE and has even attempted to sign an agreement that allows members to perform the duties of ICE agents.
The county did not approve the agreement after being rejected by community members and immigrant advocacy groups, including Voces de la Frontera.
The group's spokeswoman, Jasmine Gonzalez, said Lucas' policy change will help restore confidence in immigrant communities.
Many crimes are not reported because those living in the country without legal permission fear deportation, he said.
"People were terrified of reporting crimes when they needed help from the police," said Gonzalez. "The people who really needed this support were not able to seek assistance because they lived in fear of having their lives destroyed."