GOP lawmakers say Wisconsin ‘sanctuary cities’ should be fined, pro-immigrant group calls for strike

MADISON -- Wisconsin cities that ban their police from cooperating with federal immigration agents would be fined under a Republican-backed proposal circulating in the state Legislature.

Similar legislation failed last year after an estimated 20,000 people rallied against it at the state Capitol. The GOP's renewed efforts in 2017 has led the pro-immigrant group Voces de la Frontera to call for a general strike on May 1st.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has endorsed the legislation, while Mayor Tom Barrett said it won't force a change in how Milwaukee Police handle cases involving people who are in the country illegally.

Protest over 'sanctuary cities' bill in Madison in 2016

"The endgame of this bill is safe communities," said Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls. "We need to start talking about getting rid of the most dangerous criminals in our neighborhoods, because that’s best for the community overall."

Brandtjen's proposal and a second, similar bill come as President Donald Trump has ordered a new office created within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that would allow crime victims an outlet to report people who are in the country illegally.

Rep. Janel Brandtjen

Rep. Janel Brandtjen

Brandtjen said the federal government shouldn't face local stonewalling when they're looking for violent criminals in Wisconsin. Her bill would fine municipalities up to $5,000 per day if they pass ordinances or create policies prohibiting their police from working with federal agents.

Smaller municipalities would face fines of $500 per day. The City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and a few other municipalities with populations of more than 250,000 would face the larger $5,000 penalties.

'Sanctuary cities' legislation

"This bill is about upholding federal laws. If you are here illegally and not breaking our current laws, this bill will not affect you," Brandtjen said.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke

Clarke, who has said he will cooperate with federal agents, endorsed the legislation.

"Sheriff Clarke supports draft legislation requiring municipalities to honor federal detainer orders on criminal illegal aliens or face funding withholding," his office wrote on its Facebook page.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Milwaukee Police will continue its current policy of referring violent criminals to federal agents, but will not report people for minor offenses like traffic violations.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"We don't have the capacity to have them work as, in essence, border guards for the federal government," Barrett said. "That’s the federal government’s responsibility."

Voces de la Frontera, which is based in Milwaukee, is calling its May 1st strike in hopes of defeating the legislation again this year.

Sofia Flores of Milwaukee, whose parents are in the country illegally, said her family had been making plans about what would happen if certain members face deportation.

"We're definitely going to keep fighting (against the legislation)," Flores said. "They say they want to keep bringing it in. We're not going to let that happen. We're just going to keep resisting."

Protest over 'sanctuary cities' bill in Madison in 2016

The bills are in draft form. It's not clear when either one will be scheduled for a committee hearing in the Legislature.

14 comments

  • rocking aunt

    There is a difference between pro-immigrant and pro illegal immigrant. Protesters get your act together.

  • andy g

    ILLEGALLY IN THIS COUNTRY, ILLEGALLY means in a way that is contrary to or forbidden by law. The law is the law and if you don’t like it leave.

    • Anthony W Sleck

      We don’t owe the anything. You’re probably one of those section welfare recipients yourself. Quit wastin taxes payers money on illegal immigrants.

    • Anthony W Sleck

      I’m not sure if Wisconsin is a right to work state. But if it is, let them go on strike. They can be replaced with someone that has common sense.

  • Huh !

    I’d like to know what Barrett calls a minor offense, like traffic violations ? Does that include a high speed chase after steeling a car ? And what constitutes violent criminals, does that include resisting arrest ? Where do Identity theft and so called fake Social Security cards come in ? If you’re going to create a policy, you better create a policy that clearly spells out your intent, or you will have victims and their families suing you for allowing crime that could have been prevented !!! I’m not saying all illegals are criminal beyond their illegal entry, but what happens when they are guilty of other offenses ?

  • Rudy

    Bank Robbers are NOT Bank Customers.
    Embezzlers are NOT Accountants.
    Drunk Drivers are NOT Student Drivers.
    Home Invaders are NOT House Guests.
    Drug Dealers are NOT Pharmacists.

    ILLEGAL Aliens are NOT Immigrants!!

  • JOSE ALVAREZ SICNEROS JUAN MIGUEL VILLILOBOS RODRIGUEZ THE 16TH

    YOU ALL ARE DUMB, THEESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE HERE CAUSE THEY CAN BE THEY WORK HARD AN ALL THAT AN HAVE AT LEAST 12 KIDS PER FAMLY. IF THEY AINT HERE WHERE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO RAISE THEIR KIDS ? ITS NOT LIKE THEY CAN GET SECTION 8 HOUSING AND FOOD CARDS IN MEXICO AND SOUTH AMERICA. YALL ARE JUST STINGY WITH THIS. HELP THEESE PEOPLE OUT AND GET EM SOME FOOD A PLACE TO LIVE A NEW CADILLAC ESCALADE SEAN JOHN CLOTHES A FEW PAIR OF JORDANS STEAK LOBSTER AN ALL THAT. THEY NEED IT AINT LIKE YOU GUYS THAT ACTULLY WOPRK EVERY DAY NEED ALL THAT THEY DO THO SO STOP CRYN NN LET EM COME TO THIS COUNTRY IF THEY WANT. YALL BE DUMB

  • deleted again

    “This bill is about upholding federal laws. If you are here illegally and not breaking our current laws, this bill will not affect you,” Brandtjen said.”
    If you are here ILLEGALLY and not breaking our current laws? Do these people ever think about what they say?

  • JOSE ALVAREZ SICNEROS JUAN MIGUEL VILLILOBOS RODRIGUEZ THE 16TH

    SHUT UP DELETED AGAIN, THEESE PEOPLE CAN BE HERE ILLEGALLY OR NOT WHO ARE YOU OR ANYONE TO SAY OTHER WISE WE OWE IT TO THEM TO GIVE THEM SOME SECTION 8 HOUSING AND A FOOD CARD SO THEY CAN FEED THEIR BABIES AND TAKE OVER THIS COUNTRY TO MAKE IT AS GLORIOUS AS MEXICO, THEY ALL SHOULD BE ABLE TO GET AT LEAST A NEW CADILLAC ESCALADE AND SOME NICE NEW CLOTHES TOO AND YOU SHOULD BE THE ONE TO PAY FOR IT FROM TAXES. THEESE PEOPLE GO THROUGH ALOT TO GET HERE, WALK ACROSS HOT DESERTS RIDE IN HIDDEN COMPARTMENTS BOATS DONKEYS ALL KINDA STUFF. YOU ALL OWE THEM THIS LITTLE BIT OF STUFF AT LEAST. THEY DESERVE ANYTHING THEY WANT

    • Anthony W Sleck

      We don’t owe the anything. You’re probably one of those section welfare recipients yourself. Quit wastin taxes payers money on illegal immigrants.

  • JOSE ALVAREZ SICNEROS JUAN MIGUEL VILLILOBOS RODRIGUEZ THE 16TH

    YALL OWE THEESE PEOPLE SOME FREE HOUSING FREE FOOD A CAR AND $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • Anthony W Sleck

    Sounds like mayor Barrett doesn’t understand that you don’t just enforce laws you like. Illegal is illegal. If he can’t distinguish what the law says. Than maybe he should quit being the mayor. He obviously has no concern for the safety of his constituents. Get him out of office. Before one of these illegal immigrants causes harm to someone.

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