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Milwaukee sheriff must release immigration detainer forms

A Wisconsin appeals court on April 12 ruled that Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke must release un-redacted immigration detainer forms for jail prisoners.

The ruling was on a freedom of information request filed by the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera. The organization requested copies of federal immigration detainer forms more than a year ago from the sheriff.

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. — PHOTO: Courtesy

Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. — PHOTO: Courtesy

The sheriff released 12 forms with redacted information. Clarke maintains that federal law prohibits his agency from releasing the complete records.

The immigrant rights group sued, demanding Clarke provide clean copies of the documents.

A Milwaukee judge ordered the release of the documents and this week the district court ordered the release, within 48 hours.

In a statement, Voices de la Frontera attorney Peter Earle said, ""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. It is a clear victory for Wisconsin's immigrant community."

Voces executive director Christine Neumann-Ortiz added, "This is a victory for open government and democracy and the immigrant rights movement. 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."

On the Web…

To read the order, click here.


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