Waukesha Has a Deal With ICE
Only sheriff’s department in state that created agreement with federal immigration authorities.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wisconsin has learned that the Waukesha County sheriff’s office is the state’s only police department to enter into an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use local officers to enforce federal immigration law.
According to the ACLU, Sheriff Eric Severson renewed the agreement on July 1 and deputized personnel to participate in ICE operations, share information, and detain suspected undocumented migrants.
This revelation came out of an ongoing effort to learn more about Waukesha County’s relationship with ICE. In April, the ACLU filed Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records on any partnerships between Waukesha’s sheriff’s office and ICE.
“The department refused to produce a single document until after the Sheriff had already extended his partnership with ICE,” the ACLU states in a press release.. “Thus the [287(g)] agreement was renewed without any public oversight.”
The partnership agreement can be terminated at any time. But Sheriff Severson affirmed his commitment to federal deportation operations in a cover letter for an application to enter the agreement:
“The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office is willing, prepared and committed to assist in [ICE’s] effort to investigate, apprehend and detain aliens pursuant to the statutes…My office and staff will make this program a priority in our jail and welcome additional ICE partnerships.”
Another issue the ACLU plans to explore is any funding or technologies the Waukesha County sheriff’s office may enjoy as long as it is working with ICE. Like many federal agencies, ICE, has access to powerful surveillance technologies. Just weeks ago, Wisconsin became part of a federal surveillance balloon testing program, which ended on Sept. 1. Both residents and elected officials shared concerns that the balloons, operated by the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security, were a major privacy issue.
ACLU and partners are aware of a “steering committee” which the sheriff’s office will hold on Oct. 3, 2019 at 2:30pm at it’s own offices, at 515 W. Moreland Boulevard in Waukesha. “The ACLU will attend this meeting and urges concerned community members to also attend to question the Sheriff’s agreement with ICE,” the group states.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.