Statement on Sanctuary Cities Punishment Bill

Story Date: 
Oct 10, 2017

Testimony in opposition to SB 275 and AB 190

The ACLU started nearly 100 years ago, and one of the first things we did was defend the rights of immigrants.

People sometimes ask why the American Civil Liberties Union works so hard to defend immigrants. We do that for several reasons:

  • Critical rights under our Constitution apply to everyone in our country. Yes, we reserve some rights, like the right to vote, for citizens—but most other critical legal protections apply to everybody. This includes citizens, legal permanent residents, undocumented immigrants, refugees, and even people just visiting.
  • We also do this because it’s the right thing to do, and because it makes sense.

For example, the ACLU supports sanctuary cities and opposes forcing local police to join federal immigration work, for many reasons:

  • It makes everyone less safe, by making immigrants fear any contact with the police, even if they need help, or want to report an accident or crime. In cities such as Houston and Los Angeles, police estimate that greater fear of deportation has driven double-digit declines in the reporting of crimes made by Latino residents.
  • It forces local communities to waste scarce resources doing the job of the federal government.
  • It ignores the vital role that immigrants play in our state’s economy including the dairy industry, and the taxes they pay.
  • It’s racist and will increase unconstitutional racial profiling.

This is why we oppose SB 275 and AB 190 here. We don’t want any of this to happen in Wisconsin!  We are a diverse society, built in great part on the sweat and ingenuity of immigrants and refugees. These folks are part of the fabric of this State and nation and part of what makes America great.  I hope you will vote against this bill.  Thank you.

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