Crowd op­poses GOP bill that cracks down on ‘sanc­tu­ary cities’

Mea­sure is be­fore Sen­ate com­mit­tee on la­bor, re­form

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - PA­TRICK MAR­LEY

MADI­SON - Hun­dreds of peo­ple turned out Thurs­day to try to stop a bill that would cut state fund­ing for so-called sanc­tu­ary cities and sig­naled they would turn to the courts if the mea­sure is signed into law.

In the face of that op­po­si­tion, Sen. Steve Nass (R-White­wa­ter) made a spir­ited case for the bill be­fore the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee on La­bor and Reg­u­la­tory Re­form.

“The bill is di­rected specif­i­cally at il­le­gal aliens that have com­mit­ted a crime,” Nass told the com­mit­tee.

“Con­trary to claims of op­po­nents, sanc­tu­ary cities do not make our com­mu­ni­ties safer. Th­ese po­lit­i­cally cor­rect poli­cies ac­tu­ally in­crease the risk to

pub­lic safety in or­der to make a po­lit­i­cal state­ment re­gard­ing fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion laws.”

Op­po­nents of the bill ar­gue it is un­con­sti­tu­tional and would make Wis­con­sin less safe.

The bill “will lead to a dra­matic de­crease in the will­ing­ness of crime vic­tims to reach out to law en­force­ment, mean­ing vi­o­lent of­fend­ers will con­tinue their abu­sive be­hav­ior unim­peded,” Chase Tar­rier, pub­lic pol­icy co­or­di­na­tor for End Do­mes­tic Abuse Wis­con­sin, wrote in a memo to the com­mit­tee.

Sen­ate Bill 275 would re­quire po­lice to hold peo­ple charged with a crime in jail for up to an ad­di­tional 48 hours if they are sus­pected of be­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally. It would also bar lo­cal gov­ern­ments from hav­ing poli­cies block­ing the en­force­ment of laws re­gard­ing de­ter­min­ing some­one’s im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ments that didn’t go along could see their state aid cut by up to $5,000 per day.

The leg­is­la­tion comes a year and a half af­ter GOP law­mak­ers stepped away from sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion amid a mas­sive protest in the state Capi­tol — but also as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump seeks to scale back le­gal and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

A fed­eral judge tem­po­rar­ily blocked a sim­i­lar Texas law in Au­gust.

Dar­ryl Morin of the League of United Latin Amer­i­can Ci­ti­zens — one of the groups that sued over the Texas law — made clear Thurs­day a law­suit was all but cer­tain if Wis­con­sin adopts its bill. He said he be­lieves the leg­is­la­tion vi­o­lates at least five amend­ments to the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion, in­clud­ing those guar­an­tee­ing free­dom of as­so­ci­a­tion and pro­tect­ing peo­ple from un­rea­son­able search and seizure.

“I know there are more that I can’t re­mem­ber,” he added.

Sen. Bob Wirch (D-Kenosha) said the state shouldn’t adopt the bill in any case, but should at least wait to see how the Texas law fares on ap­peal.

“We wasted enough money on lawyers in this state. Let Texas pay for it and then we’ll learn from them,” Wirch said.

Nass coun­tered the state should move for­ward, not­ing Wis­con­sin laws lim­it­ing the pow­ers of unions sur­vived nu­mer­ous law­suits.

“We’ll see if this gets lit­i­gated. That does not scare me at all,” Nass said.

Op­po­nents of the bill filled the hear­ing room and halls out­side it, as well as three over­flow rooms around the Capi­tol where they could watch video feeds.

The bill’s fu­ture is un­clear. GOP Gov.Scott Walker and leg­isla­tive lead­ers have not said if they sup­port the mea­sure.

“The gover­nor will re­view the bill if it gets to his desk,” Walker spokesman Tom Even­son said by email.

Back­ers say they want to make sure lo­cal gov­ern­ments com­ply when fed­eral au­thor­i­ties ask them to hold sus­pected il­le­gal im­mi­grants an ex­tra 48 hours. They say the pol­icy would af­fect those sus­pected of crimes, but not those who are stopped for traf­fic vi­o­la­tions or seek po­lice help.

Op­po­nents dis­agree. They say im­mi­grants will be less likely to call po­lice out of fear that they, their friends or fam­ily will fall un­der po­lice scru­tiny when they’re seek­ing as­sis­tance.

They also con­tend it would be un­con­sti­tu­tional for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to hold sus­pects longer than they or­di­nar­ily would, as the leg­is­la­tion would re­quire.

Im­mi­grant rights group Vo­ces de la Fron­tera ar­ranged buses that brought hun­dreds of peo­ple from around the state to the hear­ing.

Vo­ces was in­stru­men­tal in the 2016 protest that halted last year’s leg­is­la­tion.This time, the group may call for strikes at dairy farms and other busi­nesses to fight the leg­is­la­tion, ac­cord­ing to the group’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Chris­tine Neu­mann-Or­tiz.

Im­mi­grant la­bor makes up as much as 80% of the hired help on dairy farms.

Last year, a sim­i­lar bill passed the As­sem­bly by a 62-35 vote but never got to the floor of the Sen­ate. Then, as now, Repub­li­cans con­trolled both houses of the Leg­is­la­ture.

The “Day With­out Lati­nos” protest brought a crowd of roughly 20,000 to Madi­son to protest that bill and an­other one lim­it­ing the abil­ity of lo­cal gov­ern­ments to is­sue photo IDs.

Un­der this year’s leg­is­la­tion, the state at­tor­ney gen­eral, district at­tor­neys and sher­iffs could sue lo­cal gov­ern­ments if they don’t com­ply with im­mi­gra­tion laws.

PA­TRICK MAR­LEY / MIL­WAU­KEE JOUR­NAL SEN­TINEL

MAR­LEY / MIL­WAU­KEE JOUR­NAL SEN­TINEL PA­TRICK

A mas­sive crowd turned up Thurs­day in op­po­si­tion to a bill that would cut state fund­ing for so-called sanc­tu­ary cities.

An over­flow crowd waits to get into the hear­ing on a bill to cut fund­ing for so-called sanc­tu­ary cities at the state Capi­tol.

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