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Sweeping Victories for Immigrant Rights Movement in Wisconsin Primary Elections
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — In Tuesday’s Milwaukee County Sheriff’s election, Earnell Lucas defeated ex-Sheriff David Clarke’s longtime assistant Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt in a race that became a referendum on collaboration between the Milwaukee Sheriff’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deportations. Voces de la Frontera Action worked to defeat Schmidt after he decided to continue Clarke’s policy of handing people over to ICE for deportation through the use of warrantless ICE detainer requests, which Trump has used to separate hundreds of Milwaukee families, and which federal courts have declared unconstitutional.
Billionaire Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele spent over $300,000 on misleading advertising portraying Schmidt as a progressive reformer in the month leading up to Election Day. Voces de la Frontera Action’s canvassing, phone-banking, and protest actions led a coalition effort that was able to overcome Abele’s spending by exposing Schmidt’s true record concerning collaboration with ICE, his role in the deaths at the county jail, and his disturbing comments saying domestic violence survivors should submit to their spouse.
The Sheriff’s office became open after David Clarke resigned in August 2017 following two Day without Latinx & Immigrants general strikes against his application to turn his deputies into ICE agents through the federal 287g program.
“Earnell Lucas’ landslide victory over Clarke’s henchman was a clear sign of support for sanctuary policies and a rejection of local law enforcement collaboration with ICE in the separation of families,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action. “It was a mass uprising against 287g that drove Sheriff Clarke out of office, and it’s organizing that has ushered in a Sheriff committed to keeping families together, challenging racial profiling, and working to end mass incarceration. As we witness every day the disturbing ramp up on the part of ICE and Border Patrol, and the rise of the far right, this organizing has never been more urgent. Every time we win in one place, it builds support around the country for policies of resistsance to Trump’s white nationalist war on immigrant families.”
Tuesday’s primary elections saw sweeping victories across Wisconsin for candidates who made resistance to Trump’s attacks on immigrant families central to their platforms. In Congressional District 1, Randy Bryce became the Democratic nominee for Congress after advocating for a bold agenda that included Medicare for All, tuition-free public college, and the abolition of ICE. Marisabel Cabrera also won the Democratic nomination for State Assembly District 9. Cabrera serves on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission, where she forcefully opposed efforts to change Milwaukee Police Department Standard Operating Procedures to remove protections against investigation into immigration status. Voces de la Frontera Action endorsed Bryce and Cabrera as well as Lucas.
“Lucas’, Bryce’s, and Cabrera’s victories show broad support for sanctuary policies and for a bold, pro-immigrant, pro-worker agenda,” continued Neumann-Ortiz. “Tony Evers supports legislation to restore driver licenses to Wisconsin immigrant residents, which is especially important because ICE is targeting people stopped for driving without a license for deportation. We will phone bank, canvass voters, and do all that we can to elect candidates on November 6, 2018, who will put a stop to Trump’s white nationalist campaign of terror against immigrant families.”