The ACLU of Wisconsin Madison Area Office sent a letter today to the members of the Madison Common Council urging them to support a resolution on the topic of local law enforcement, racial profiling and immigration. This is what we wrote:
"The ACLU of Wisconsin urges the City of Madison Common Council to vote in favor of a resolution affirming Madison’s current sensible approach to enforcement of flawed federal immigration laws and opposing discriminatory policing practices and proposals. Local law enforcement practices that involve racial profiling result in bad policing, overstep the authority of local governments, and ultimately make our communities less safe.
"This important resolution reaffirms existing Madison police policies which oppose racial profiling. In addition, the ACLU of Wisconsin also supports the call by the resolution sponsors for the Dane County Sheriff’s Department to end its current practice of reporting persons who are arrested – but not convicted of crimes - to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).
"Around the country, the ACLU has actively challenged racial profiling. The most recent, extreme example of such a biased law – against which the ACLU has filed suit - is the recently-passed Arizona legislation allowing police officers to demand citizenship papers based on a so-called “reasonable suspicion” that a person is undocumented. This law clearly violates the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. constitution: it is inevitable that “reasonable suspicion” will disproportionately impact persons of color and non-native English speakers, U.S. citizens, lawful residents and suspected undocumented persons alike. By interfering with the federal government’s sole authority to regulate immigration, the Arizona law also violates the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.
"Good community-based policing is essential for effective law enforcement to protect public safety. Local police rely on community residents to provide the information they need to fight crime. Immigration enforcement and racial profiling by local police undermine community policing efforts and add to the loss of trust by large sectors of the community it is obligated to serve and protect. In communities where people are afraid to talk to local police, more crimes go unreported, fewer witnesses come forth, and people are less likely to report suspicious activity.
The ACLU of Wisconsin therefore urges the Madison Common Council to protect everyone in the community and pass resolution 18594."
Read more about the issue in this article from the Capitol Times. The Madison common council will vote on the resolution tonight (Tuesday, June 1) at 6:30 p.m. in room 201 of the City-County building.