Justice Department: County complies with immigration laws
Milwaukee County is in compliance with federal immigration law and does not face the loss of federal grant funds from the U.S. Department of Justice, Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan Hanson said Thursday.
The department found no evidence that the county hinders enforcement of immigration laws, despite a majority of the County Board stating a desire to be a so-called sanctuary county.
The board adopted a resolution in February to restrict information shared with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, known as ICE.
The Justice Department determined the Sheriff’s Office is not following the board’s restrictions, so the county is in compliance, Hanson said in a letter to County Executive Chris Abele.
“I believe that Milwaukee County has found the right balance between complying with all applicable state and federal laws to ensure public safety, protecting the civil rights of all our residents, and treating our immigrant community with the respect and dignity they deserve,” Abele said Thursday. The Justice Department certification was expected, he said.
“I’m sure they have also been able to verify that neither Milwaukee County nor any other jurisdiction is ‘crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime,’ as had been stated falsely by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his earlier press releases,” Abele said.
If the board’s February resolution had been followed, the county would have been at risk of losing an average of $6.3 million a year in federal public safety grants, the county said.
The Sheriff’s Office spends nearly $1 million a year on enforcement of federal immigration laws and routinely complies with ICE detainer requests, according to Corporation Counsel Margaret Daun.
The Justice Department determined this week that Chicago and Cook County, Ill., as well as New York City, New Orleans and Philadelphia, have policies that may violate federal immigration laws.