ICE arrests 83 in Wisconsin, students share their thoughts

ICE presence in Wisconsin causes unrest and debate

Timothy Spierings

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Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 83 immigrants in Wisconsin from Sept. 21 to Sept. 24, according to Channel 3000.

ICE recently conducted an enforcement surge in Wisconsin from Sept. 21 to Sept. 24. An article from Channel 3000 — a news source from Madison, WI — published Sept. 25 says that the final count of immigrants arrested is 83 in total.

Most arrests were made around Madison, Arcadia and Milwaukee, with others taking place all over the state.

With the media attention focused on ICE as it spreads further from the coast, many people are raising their voices both in support and against the organization. Around the UW-Eau Claire campus, students have their own opinions about the situation.

“In a way, their actions are justified because they are supposed to support security within our country,” said Eli Colson, a first-year social work student. “However, I don’t find it fair to lock immigrants up or deport them. They should be provided the resources to help them gain citizenship within our country.”

According to Channel 3000, only 44 of those arrested had criminal convictions prior to the arrest. Another 16 had no records about them and an additional 21 are believed to have been deported before.

“I know ICE arrests the criminals, but rumors go around that they arrest anyone who seems Hispanic and question them, so parents and children become concerned,” Marely Sanchez Rodriguez, a first-year business undecided student, said. “Some kids have to go to school scared that when they go back home they won’t see their parents.”

Others have concerns about the criteria that ICE uses when making the arrests, as some immigrant rights groups like Voces de la Frontera say that not all of those arrested in Wisconsin had criminal records prior to the arrests, which is what ICE is required to have found on those they arrest in order to detain undocumented immigrants.

“I know of people back home in Madison who are worried sick about ICE lurking around schools and businesses,” Emily Schneider, a first-year nursing student, said. “They are detaining children and parents right in front of their schools and jobs all because for they don’t have a piece of paper.”

There is a special emphasis among immigration-rights groups around children being separated from their families, especially those at the border.

Damir Kovačević, UW-Eau Claire political science professor, explained that there is importance in patrolling the Mexico-United States border and ensuring that those who enter the country do so lawfully. However, he also said that children being separated from their families is a very harmful thing.

“When you have professors and administrators around the country comparing the policy to internment camps or the American Academy of Pediatrics noting it has caused irreparable harm, it is safe to say the policy is deeply flawed,” Kovačević said.

Kovačević explained how he has had experience with detainment, as his family was detained in the Bosnian Civil War in 1992. The concentration camps were very similar to what America is seeing now along the border, ranging from tent cities to cramped gymnasiums. However, Kovačević said that one thing regarding his family’s treatment stands out now.

“There was a key difference: We were not separated,” Kovačević said. “I can’t express how important that is, especially for very young children.”

This opinion is shared by Kylie Engel, a first-year women’s, gender and sexuality studies student, who said she felt “horror” at the idea that children are being split from their parents.

“(The tent cities) are definitely a gray area, because I can acknowledge why some people would justify that,” Engel said. “However, thinking about it from a human rights perspective, I think it’s pretty horrible.”


Spierings can be reached at [email protected].