As President Obama Announces Delay of Immigration Relief, Impact Hits Milwaukee


Milwaukee families call for the release of  loved ones at the local ICE office. (Joe Brusky Photography)

Contact: Joe Shansky, Voces de la Frontera 414.795.3380,

Dozens of local families separated as ICE raids sweep the city 

On Tuesday May 27th dozens of Milwaukeeans were taken from their homes and workplaces by local law enforcement, working in conjunction with Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) officials. 

“No family should have to endure this kind of harassment, ” says Silvia Juarez, whose cousin Epigmenio Martinez-Ruiz is now at the Dodge County detention center.

Epigmenio has no criminal record and a US citizen daughter, eight year old Tatiana.  He came to the US before 2001, and has been working throughout the past decade as a foundry worker in Milwaukee.  He attends mass at St. Anthony’s church.
Voces de la Frontera is in the process of working with many of the families impacted yesterday to protect them from extended detention or deportation.
“We’re tired of this invasion of our communities,” says Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of Voces de la Frontera.  “Every day our office sees families like those affected by yesterday’s raids who are reeling from these attacks.  Often it’s mothers and children left to fend for themselves after a male head of household is detained – and who in many cases are faced with homelessness.  Our families are in crisis, and we will fight to protect them.”
The raids occurred just as news broke of President Obama asking his Homeland Security chief to postpone completing a review of U.S. deportation policies until the end of the summer.  The decision was made after a coalition of Washington DC advocacy groups requested the delay to allow for time for Congress to act first for legislative reform.

“The decision by the Obama administration to hold off on administrative relief is deplorable,” says Neumann-Ortiz.

“It’s a complete capitulation to conservatives that have been blocking reform for years, and demonstrates a fundamental disconnect with the plight and suffering of immigrant families. There’s no justification to delay on fixing a deportation machinery that is fueled by arbitrary quotas, xenophobia, and private prison profits. President Obama must act independently of the Congress to reform the very apparatus he helped institutionalize and grow.”