Opponents flood Wisconsin 'sanctuary cities' hearingOctober 12, 2017 5:03pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hundreds of people flooded the Wisconsin Capitol on Thursday to oppose legislation targeting "sanctuary cities," as state Republicans align with President Donald Trump's attempts to crack down on local laws aimed at protecting immigrants who are illegally living in the U.S.

The Republican-backed bill would bar local governments from passing ordinances, approving policies or taking other steps to prevent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The legislation also targets those that don't share information with federal immigration authorities.

Violations of the proposed law would result in local governments losing as much as $5,000 a day in state funding.

"Sanctuary cities do not make our communities safer," the bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater, said during a legislative committee hearing where opponents overflowed the meeting room. "These politically correct policies actually increase the risk to public safety in order to make a political statement regarding federal immigration laws."

Nass cited the 2015 fatal shooting of a woman by an immigrant in San Francisco who the local sheriff's office released earlier that year despite a request by federal immigration authorities to detain him. Under the legislation, local communities would have to comply with any request made by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain an immigrant who may be in the country illegally.

Opponents say the plan would give sweeping federal powers to local law enforcement agencies and public employees to interrogate, arrest, and deport immigrants who are not living in the country legally. They argue it also would chill relations between the immigrant community and law enforcement.

Numerous groups were lined up in opposition Thursday, including the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, the city of Milwaukee, immigrant rights group Voces de a Frontera and the Wisconsin Farmers Union. Hundreds of individuals also were bused in from across the state to speak out against the bill, similar to efforts last year that helped kill similar legislation.

Dairy farmer John Rosenow said in prepared testimony that more than 80 percent of the milk sold on Wisconsin dairy farms is harvested by immigrants, many of them from Mexico. He said the legislation would make it even more difficult to fill those jobs.

"We dairy farmers need immigrants to work on farms to help the industry to continue to be robust," Rosenow said.

In January, Trump signed an executive order to withdraw funding from sanctuary cities that decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. And earlier this year, the U.S. Justice Department listed Milwaukee County among 10 locations it was scrutinizing to determine if they should lose some federal grant money for failing to prove they were adhering to federal immigration law.

The U.S. Department of Justice informed the county on Thursday, as the hearing was ongoing, that it had found no evidence it was hindering enforcement of immigration laws.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been lukewarm on the state legislation. Last year, he was "just fine" with the Legislature not passing the bill. His spokesman took no position on the latest measure, saying Walker would review it should it pass.

___

Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

Page 1 of 1

More Stories Like This

Vos apologizes for calling fellow Republicans terroristsThe speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly apologized Monday for calling three fellow Republicans "terrorists" over how they negotiated the state budget with Gov. Scott Walker
More than a dozen states still refuse to release voter dataHow states are handling Trump's voter information request
California Senate plans outside investigation on harassmentThe California Senate has hired a law firm to investigate sexual harassment allegations
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 file photo, Democrat Doug Jones speaks at a campaign rally for the race to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions' former Senate seat, in Birmingham, Ala. Jones is betting that his underdog bid for the U.S. Senate gets a boost, at home and nationally, from his role in convicting two Ku Klux Klansmen who killed four young black girls in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
In Alabama, Jones touts his role jailing murderous Klansmen
FILE - In this July 7, 2015 file photo, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, right, is led into the courtroom by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, left, and Assistant District Attorney Diana Garciaor, center, for his arraignment at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco.  The murder trial started Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, for Garcia Zarate, a Mexican man who set off a national immigration debate after he shot and killed Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier on July 1, 2015. Garcia Zarate has said the shooting was accidental. (Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool, File)
Murder trial starts for man who stoked US immigration debate
FILE- In this file photo from July 7, 2017, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R- Pa., speaks at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Pittsburgh site, in South Park Township, Pa. Pennsylvania will hold a special election March 13, 2018, to complete the term of Murphy, an anti-abortion lawmaker who resigned after his hometown newspaper revealed he had suggested a mistress get an abortion when they thought she might be pregnant. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
Special election set to fill anti-abortion lawmaker's seat
This component is currently unavailable.
AdChoices

Related Searches

Related Searches

AdChoices