State lawmakers heard public testimony this week on a controversial bill that would penalize local law enforcement for not fully cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The bill’s author suggests that so-called “Sanctuary Cities” like Madison have loose immigration enforcement standards that may provide cover for dangerous undocumented criminals. Immigrant rights advocates in Madison expressed concern that the measure would only drive undocumented immigrants into the shadows, while the Madison Police Chief was puzzled about why legislators considered Madison a “sanctuary” in the first place. Darien Lamen reports.
Proposed Assembly Bill 450 requires local police to ask about immigration status. Nancy Flores from Voces de la Frontera, a labor support and immigrant resource center in Milwaukee, says that this will build mistrust of police in Wisconsin. A hearing, originally scheduled for December 15, 2015, was cancelled and has yet to be rescheduled.