Dealing with illegal immigrants booked in Dane Co. Jail - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Task force recommends changes to sheriff's immigration referral policy


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Immigration Task Force wants the sheriff to change the way he deals with illegal immigrants at the jail.

Right now illegal immigrants booked at the jail are referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.

The task force voted to ask Dane County Supervisors to support its recommendation which asks the sheriff's department not contact immigration when dealing with immigrants at the jail during the booking process.

The argument is immigrants are not calling police when they see crimes.

"What they hear I think is based on reality and based on perception but clearly they're afraid that contact with law enforcement will result in deportation," said task force chair Luis Yudice.

"Our purpose is not to be an agent of Immigration and U.S. Customs," said Mahoney who is also a member of the task force.

He said the sole purpose of reporting immigrants to ice is to get information about prior criminal records in other countries.

"As Dane County Sheriff, my responsibility is to ensure public safety and that includes the safety of our jail," he said.

"We don't have the authority to dictate to the sheriff what he should do. Its important as a body of the community that he listen to what our group has to say," Yudice said.

Mahoney does not have to listen any of the recommendations from the task force or the county board.

No word on when board members will get the recommendations.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Dane County Immigration Task Force is expected to decide on recommendations on how to handle illegal immigrants taken to the jail.

As of now, any illegal immigrant booked at the jail is referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Tonight the task force, which includes Dane County board members, could back one of three options.

The first asks Sheriff Dave Mahoney not to refer any illegal immigrants to ICE. Madison City leaders supported that option in a resolution passed Tuesday night, even though the city council has no jurisdiction over what the county does. The other asks Mahoney to only refer immigrants booked on felony charges. Another option allows the sheriff to refer immigrants at his own discretion. Task force members say that's what happens now.

Sheriff Mahoney has said he is not obligated to contact ICE and wont change his policy.

What ever the task force decides to support will head to the full County Board.

Brian Rodriguez will be at the meeting which starts at 6:30pm at the City County Building in downtown Madison.

He will talk to the task force chair and people on both sides of the issue. Full coverage tonight on 27 news at 10pm.

Powered by Frankly