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Milwaukee City Hall was packed on Wednesday, December 18th at 6:00 pm as the Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously to approve a non-collaboration policy between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Voces de la Frontera, the immigrant rights organization led by Christine Neumann-Ortiz had pushed for a policy that would require judicial warrant before the Milwaukee Police Department could cooperate with Federal ICE agents.  Many other cities have been wary of allowing such a warrant because President Trump had threatened to cut funding to cities that did not collaborate with ICE.  Neumann-Ortiz rejected that concern and indicated in a Voces Press Release that “this position is legal; it is not going to threaten funding; it’s been passed by many other cities and has been upheld by the courts.

“Local community protections are critical in the face of the Trump administration’s agenda which attacks immigrant communities through racial profiling, family separations, and corroding trust between local law enforcement and the people they are entrusted to serve and protect,” said Neumann-Ortiz. “Under the Trump Administration, we have witnessed the threat of growing white nationalism. In Wisconsin, we have witnessed increased hate crimes.”

“Wisconsin is at a historical crossroads ahead of the 2020 election. Milwaukee is ground zero to determine the direction our state and the country goes. As the city that will host the Democratic National Convention in 2020, we’re proud that our city leadership has decided to send a strong message that Milwaukee is a welcoming city for all and our community is standing up for immigrant workers and their families.”

Representatives of numerous organizations as well as other allies joined Voces de la Frontera in support of the non-collaboration policy.  President Trump’s war on immigrants and refugee families during the three years of his presidency has resulted in the Muslim ban, a huge decrease in refugee resettlement, increased racial profiling, and the tearing apart of families.

In September, Milwaukee police officers helped ICE arrest Jose De La Cruz as he was taking his daughter to school, stoking fear throughout the immigrant community.  As the Fire and Police Commission voted to approve a non-collaboration policy, cheers and applause erupted in City Hall.  The policy changes passed with unanimous approval.