I oppose LRB-1116, Wisconsin's version of Arizona Senate Bill 1070, because it will amplify the climate of fear that keeps immigrant victims of domestic violence silent, resulting in repeat violence and abuse. This bill will make it even more likely that victims will be unwilling to call the police for help and that dangerous abuser will continue to go free.
The Arizona-Copycat bill would give abusers increased power to isolate and control victims. Abusers who are citizens or permanent residents often tell immigrant victims that they and their children will be deported if the victim reports the abuse to law enforcement. LRB-1116 would increase the likelihood that abusers’ threats will be effective and that victims and their children will suffer in silence.
The bill would discourage immigrant victims from interacting with law enforcement. We are all at risk when violent abusers go unidentified. Creating an entire class of community members that is fearful of the police is not only unjust; it makes the whole community unsafe.
Additionally, this legislation would undermine federal immigration protections for victims of domestic violence. Under federal law, immigrant victims who cooperate with law enforcement are eligible for legal status. The Arizona-Copycat bill would create a blunt enforcement mechanism that ignores the fact that many immigrant victims may be legally entitled to a documented immigration status.
Summary of the bill:
LRB-1116 requires law enforcement to detain any individuals charged or arrested in connection with crime or civil violation who the officer has "reasonable suspicion" to believe is not lawfully present in the country. The person may be detained for up to 48 hours until the person can prove he or she is lawfully present. If the person is unable to do so, the law enforcement agency must turn the person over to immigration authorities.
Tony Gibart, Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence