According to community members and media reports, federal immigration officials in plain clothes have questioned, detained, and placed in deportation proceedings people they suspect of being undocumented in county courthouses in Racine, Ozaukee, Walworth, and Milwaukee counties.
Without identifying themselves as federal agents, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers question people about their immigration status, and sometimes detain people appearing in court for minor traffic violations as well as family court. In one instance, ICE agents detained a woman with no criminal record who was accompanying her mother at a hearing.
By making immigrants afraid to go to court or contact law enforcement, these practices undermine public safety. The community is less safe when people are afraid to report crimes as victims or witnesses or are denied protections from the court from cases such as domestic violence. This is a violation of people’s human and constitutional rights regardless of their immigration status. By making people afraid to appear in court, these practices jeopardize people’s immigration status and their hope of legalizing in the future.