UW Madison police chief: Immigration status ‘immaterial’ to our goal

Her statement was posted by the school, alongside city leaders' claim that President Donald Trump "continues to threaten immigrant communities."

The police chief for the University of Wisconsin, Madison stated that community members' immigration status is "immaterial" to the department's goal.

The University of Wisconsin, Madison’s police chief stated Friday that the immigration status of individuals is “immaterial” to the police department’s mission.

UW Madison Police Chief Kristen Roman made the statement in a school news release, titled, “We stand with the immigrant community’: Madison and UW Madison leaders respond to potential ICE arrests next week.”

“An individual’s immigration status is immaterial to our mission and will only be relevant if the individual is involved in serious crimes,” Roman said. 

She said that UW Madison will not share the immigration status of community members with ICE unless compelled by law and that the school police will not participate with ICE in immigration enforcement.

[RELATED: Public university shares ‘Toolkit’ to combat ‘Trump’s deportation machinery’]

“UWPD officers shall not detain or arrest an individual solely based on a suspected violation of immigration law and should not routinely inquire to an individual’s immigration status,” Roman continued. “An individual’s immigration status has no bearing on their ability to file a police report with UWPD.”

The police chief pointed to academic and mental health support available for illegal alien students through the taxpayer-funded university.

“It is unfortunate that President Trump continues to threaten immigrant communities,” Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, along with Madison Common Council President Shiva Bidar and Vice President Barbara Harrington-McKinney said in a joint statement cited by UW Madison.  “We, as a city, stand with the immigrant community and will work collaboratively with community leaders to respond to any increase in ICE enforcement.”

ICE raids and the deportation of illegal immigrants are not new for Wisconsin. In fall 2018, the agency made 83 arrests over a four-day period, WeAreGreenBay.com reported. Of the arrested, 44 individuals had criminal convictions and 21 of them had previously been deported.

[RELATED: University where students chanted ‘F**k ICE’ protects illegal students from raids]

After this raid, Madison law enforcement and officials held many news conferences about ICE. Police Chief Mike Koval said that ICE did not follow protocol by notifying the local police during the operation.

Paul Soglin, the mayor of Wisconsin at that time, stated, “We’re very disappointed in how ICE and the federal government are conducting themselves and we are making our best effort to work with community leaders and to make sure the rights of those individuals in ICE’s custody are fully protected.” 

Bidar said that such incidents “really [have] a huge impact on children.”

“That’s trauma that stays with them forever.”

UWPD spokesman Marc Lovicott confirmed the campus police’s policies to Campus Reform, noting that they previously appeared in a June 21 post on the police vertical of the UW Madison site.

[RELATED: As ICE prepares weekend raids, NJ county spends QUARTER-MILLION in taxpayer funds to defend illegals]

“This is a long-standing practice and policy of ours. This is not anything new. We do not participate in immigration enforcement actions that are conducted by ICE,” Lovicott told Campus Reform. “We are solely concerned about the safety of our campus and enforcing the laws of our campus community and make sure people are safe. It has been a long-standing tradition of our department. We do not participate in immigration enforcement.”

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