Court Orders Milwaukee Sheriff Clarke to Hand Over Immigration Detainer Documents

Apr 14, 2016

UPDATE: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke will appeal the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and in the meantime, appeals court says he does not have to release un-redacted ICE documents regarding certain inmates held in county detention facilities.

According to a statement Thursday from Clarke's office, he says the legal case has not yet ended. "It will now potentially be considered by the state’s highest court, and not by the illegal alien advocacy group Voces de la Frontera, which has no respect for our nation’s immigration law and sovereignty.”

The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera prevailed against Clarke earlier this week in Wisconsin appeals court. It ordered him to turn over to the group full copies of I-294 forms, instead of redacted copies.

The issue went to court last year, after Voces asked the Sheriff to turn over copies of I-294 forms he had gotten from U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement since Nov. 2014. Those forms let state and local jails to hold individuals for 48-hours longer than the criminal justice system allows.

Clarke eventually provided redacted copies to Voces but blocked out such information as immigration status. His office argued that Wisconsin's open records law allows him to determine whether to release certain information, and in this case, he claimed the full release could have harmed the individuals involved.

On Tuesday, state appeals court sided with Voces and a lower court. It ruled that Wisconsin state law favors disclosure, including so the public can know whether the Sheriff has violated federal law. The appeals court stated that Clarke would have to have demonstrated that a release of full information would put the general public at risk.

Voces released a statement afterward reading, in part, "It is a clear victory for Wisconsin's immigrant community."