The Department of Homeland Security rolled out sweeping new guidelines to implement President Donald Trump’s immigration enforcement orders that will likely lead to more deportations and detentions.
Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney said these guidelines won't change the way Dane County law enforcement does business.
“That's a bad idea,” Mahoney said.
That's how Mahoney feels about Trump’s guidelines, which call upon local law enforcement to act as de facto immigration agent, arresting those who've entered the country illegally regardless of whether they've committed serious crimes.
“I don't have the staff to go out into the community, and more important than that it's counterproductive to the safety of our community for me to send deputies out, hunting down individuals who are not U.S. citizens,” Mahoney said.
He believes the protocol, which is designed to crack down on crime, will actually bolster it. He thinks it will discourage victims to contact authorities out of fear that immigration status will be a factor. That opinion and the idea of fast-tracking citizenship for immigrants are points Mahoney tried to make to Trump during a meeting at the National Sheriff's Association Conference.
“He said, ‘I understand and there needs to be another means to become a citizen,' but he quickly pivoted to his executive order,” Mahoney said of his meeting with Trump.
The roll out has Madison immigration lawyer Alexandra Daggett encouraging undocumented immigrants to have a list of emergency contacts and a folder with their important documents.
“Because if you are arrested and detained by ICE you're not going to have access to that information,” she said. “So you want to make sure that your family or friends have that information, so that they can provide that to an attorney or take it to you at the ICE detention center.”
For now though, Mahoney said he will not follow the guidelines, and that he'll stick to long-established local laws.
“I take my orders from the citizens of Dane County," Mahoney said.
Mahoney said he will not work with immigration enforcement agents unless someone has committed a serious crime.
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