By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
April 12, 2016
Milwaukee, WI - On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District ordered Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. to release un-redacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer I-247's forms dating back to November 2014 within 48 hours to Voces de la Frontera (VDLF), a workers and immigrant rights organization, according to the Court of Appeals ruling. Sheriff Clarke had released 12 I-247 forms, but all were redacted and information about undocumented immigrants held was deleted making it difficult to determine name of subject, event number, file number, nationality and circumstances of immigration status. Later, Sheriff Clarke released the I-247's with some un-redacted information, but redacted the nationality of those detained. Voces de la Frontera sued for none full disclosure under the Wisconsin open records law.
Clarke had argued that federal law exempted the Milwaukee County Sheriff Department from disclosing I-247 information citing ICE's request not to release the information of detainees. But the Wisconsin Court of Appeals agreed with Voces de la Frontera that the detainees in question were not in federal custody, but in Milwaukee County custody and the Wisconsin open records law applied for full disclosure.
The executive director and the attorney for VDLF released the following statements on the outcome of the case. "This ruling reaffirms the right of Voces de la Frontera under Wisconsin's open records law to monitor Sheriff Clarke to make sure he does not engage in improper immigration enforcement activity," said Attorney Peter Earle, who represented Voces in the case. "It is a clear victory for Wisconsin's immigrant community."
"This is a victory for open government and democracy and the immigrant rights movement," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. "Sheriff Clarke can no longer carry out deportations in secret. We will now obtain information regularly to hold Clarke accountable for his deportations and ensure he is respecting new federal enforcement priorities. We never should have had to go to these lengths to obtain such basic information. Clarke should be ashamed for wasting taxpayer dollars on lawyers to try to keep indefensible deportations secret. It also underlines the need for local law enforcement to not be collaborating in deportations with federal immigration authorities because it discourages immigrants from reporting crimes."
Voces de la Frontera v. Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. Ruling https://goo.gl/ofsHMl