The Fire & Police Commission officially restored protections for immigrant community members!
Mayor Tom Barrett had made significant changes to the Milwaukee Police Department policy regarding immigration status, specifically Standard Operating Procedure 130. These changes strengthened collaboration between MPD and ICE.
On Thursday, July 13th during the Fire and Police Commission’s monthly meeting Assistant Police Chief James Harpole explained the agreement reached by the Mayor’s office, the Chief of Police, LULAC and Voces de la Frontera to amend the new policy that had gone into effect on July 6th. Assistant Chief Harpole explained both the changes that remained in the policy and those that were amended. The Fire and Police Commission then voted to accept the amended version of the policy.
Great relief swept through the crowd of over 2000 as they listened to the amended version as well as the unanimous vote by the Commission. Cheers broke out in the adjoining committee rooms and the corridors of City Hall as those assembled recognized the enormous victory that had been won. Through community presence, phone calls and emails, the mayor and police chief reconsidered the unnecessary language that had struck fear into the whole community. The response:“Si, se pudo!” (Yes, we did it!)
After the vote was taken on the amended policy, the Fire and Police Commission members listened to community comments.
Daryl Morin from LULAC spoke to the lack of democratic processes that had led to the July 6th policy being put in place. Christine Neumann-Ortiz thanked all the members of the community who showed their support for immigrants and refugees who were targeted by the policy. Pastor Joseph Ellwanger from MICAH said, “We need to have courage in Milwaukee, the courage to practice radical hospitality.”
A TESTIMONY given at the hearing held by the Fire and Police Commission on July 13, 2017.
A basic law for the Faith Community, Jews, Christian, Muslims and others, is: love God and your neighbor. A corollary of this law – equality – is carved in the keystone of our institutions.
But fifty years ago Mayor Maier of Milwaukee wanted to make an exception. He opposed fair housing. Under the leadership of Father James Groppi the people marched in opposition with success
Mayor Tom Barrett also wanted to make an exception. Barrett, with the new protocol for the police denied the people in the Latino Community Police protection. The people are marched again and were successful.
These are excerpts from the Milwaukee New Sanctuary Movement newsletter, summer 2017 issue.