012015fp-top-fold-pix-2Anti-Sanctuary Cities Bill Opposed
MADISON — The Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Urban and Local Affairs was attended by hundreds of immigrants opposing a bill to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Wisconsin.
Assembly Bill 450 authored by Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) is calling for the ban on sanctuary cities in Wisconsin. The bill was spurred on by the killing of 32 year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco last July.
“The killer was Francisco Sanchez, an illegal immigrant and convicted felon who had been previously deported five times,” said Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield).
But it’s what happened before the crime itself which is causing Rep. Spiros to initiate the legislation.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE had issued a detainer for Sanchez requesting that he be kept in custody until immigration authorities could pick him up. However, since San Francisco is a sanctuary city, the city did not honor the detainer. He was released from jail and set free,” said Rep. Spiros.
Under AB 450, local law enforcement agencies that charge an undocumented immigrant with a crime, would be required to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
But opponents of the bill say it would make immigrants unnecessarily frightened.
“I urge you to really not to continue the politics of fear that we’re seeing across our nation,” said City of Madison Alder Shiva Bidar-Seilaff, an immigrant who joined others in saying the bill would further push undocumented immigrants into the shadows.
“I would not be able to call the police for fear that they would take me away from my family,” said Arturo Teapila, an immigrant who lives in Madison. “I work everyday trying to improve my life. I’m not a criminal.”
Rep. Spiros considers Madison, Racine and Milwaukee County to have sanctuary provisions, but admits he’s unsure what they entail.
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said his officers will contact ICE agents for undocumented immigrants being arrested for a felony or if they have faced three or more significant misdemeanor arrests. Examples of significant misdemeanors would be for offenses like domestic violence, sexual abuse, unlawful possession of a firearm or drug distribution.