Immigration Rights Activists Fight to Stop Racial Profiling by ICE Agents at Wisconsin Courthousesby Gamino Law Offices on 04/29/14
Last month, immigration rights activists in Wisconsin demanded that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stop conducting harassing immigration crackdowns at state courthouses. According to the activists, the efforts made by the agents were characteristic of racial profiling. ICE agents had allegedly been singling out people who appeared to be of Latino origin and who were speaking Spanish, interrogating them on their legal status and attempting to deport them.
Around 100 activists assembled outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office on Knapp Street in Milwaukee to protest racial profiling at courthouses in Milwaukee County, as well as similar actions in other counties, including Racine, Dane, Ozaukee, Waukesha, Kenosha, Walworth, Winnebago, Washington, and Rock. The protects came just days after Democratic party members called on acting ICE director John Sandweg to stop agents from profiling people in Wisconsin courtrooms.
“The reports of ICE officials racially profiling and intimidating Latino and non-English speaking individuals in our courthouses are deeply troubling and need to be addressed immediately,” said state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, of Milwaukee. “This conduct by ICE officials perpetuates racial stereotypes in our communities and deters Wisconsin residents from cooperating with law enforcement and our judicial system for fear of being profiled.”
ICE maintains it is adhering to protocol and is not engaging in racial profiling. But even then, many question the integrity of the organization for conducting interrogations at the courthouses, a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments.
Those who were targeted had shown no sign of wrongdoing, leading activists to believe they were indeed singled out due to their appearance. In a state where 73 percent of residents believe there should be a way for undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, it’s interesting to see how such an emphasis is placed on deportation, instead of helping immigrants obtain a path toward citizenship.
Anyone who was targeted outside a courtroom may benefit from consulting with an experienced Wisconsin immigration lawyer in order to determine what they can do.