, ,

Deputy Mayor: No One Taken Into Custody By ICE On Madison’s East Side

Announcements Made At Madison High School About Nearby ICE Agents

Madison East High School
Madison East High School Andrea Anderson/WPR

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were seen along Madison’s East Washington Avenue corridor on Tuesday.

Channel 3000 reports ICE officials were at businesses on Madison’s east side, but their visit wasn’t related to “deportation activities.”

Still, Madison East High School took precautions by advising students who might be at risk of deportation to remain inside the building.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

During the school day, principal Michael Hernandez made an announcement telling students and staff that ICE agents were in the area, and reiterated that the school is a safe space for all students, including those living in the country without legal permission.

Madison Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes said no one was taken into custody by ICE on Madison’s east side Tuesday.

“ICE agents did not ask for specific individuals,” she said. “They did not show a warrant. From what I know, they were at McDonald’s to order some food.”

She said that students were concerned because vehicles were spotted at McDonald’s and word spread.

“As far as we know, (ICE agents) weren’t at East High,” Reyes said.

Reyes, who is also a Madison Metropolitan School District board member, said that school officials took steps to address the students’ concerns.

“The principal (at East High School) offered an opportunity for students to come together and talk about their concerns. It was providing them with resources out in our community to share with their parents,” she said.

Reyes, along with teachers and principals, talked to students as they waited for rides to take them home from school .

“It was a difficult conversation. Students are concerned for themselves and their parents, obviously. It was an opportunity to alleviate some of that (concern). We cannot send a message to our community that we have to live in fear,” she said. “We do have the strength of the voices of our students, the voices of our community, our allies who are out there really wanting to support those in our community.”

Reyes said she had with her laminated cards detailing individual rights and what to do if approached by ICE agents.

“Unless they have a warrant, you are not obligated to give them an ID,” she said.

Reyes said that information is still coming in concerning ICE detentions in other parts of the city in recent days.

“As of two days ago, there were 12,” she said. “Now, we are up to 14 in Dane County who have been detained. We don’t know when the arrest happened — today or yesterday — (we’re) just getting (the) information. We do know one individual was Cambodian and another Hmong.”

Reports Of Other Arrests Around State

The reports came after a weekend of arrests in Wisconsin by ICE agents.

Late Tuesday evening, ICE confirmed that they arrested 83 people in 14 Wisconsin counties between Friday and Monday, 20 of which were arrested in Dane County. Of those arrested, six were women and 77 were men.

Around 80 employees at a meat packing plant near Wausau didn’t show up to work Monday after the series of arrests.

A human resources manager at Abbyland Foods in Abbotsford confirmed the absences to a Wausau TV station, but said the company wasn’t sure if the absences were related to the more than 30 arrests made by ICE.

Tony Gonzalez, director of EAG Interpreters Hispanic Outreach in the Wausau area, said people are afraid.

“The impact has been palpable,” Gonzalez said. “Workers did not come back to work, they were afraid, even people that have a legal status in the country, because of their fear of being profiled as Hispanics and just arbitrarily taken away. So, that fear exists big time.”

After traveling to communities where arrests happened and speaking to people there, Gonzalez said he heard the arrests over the weekend were targeted toward people with warrants out for their arrest.

In response to ICE arrests, some Madison businesses chose to close their businesses.

Tipsy Cow, a restaurant near the state Capitol building in Madison, posted a sign in their window Monday that read: “Tipsy Cow will be closed today due to the current pressure on the Latino community. We will reopen as soon as we can. We are sorry for any inconvenience.” The business remained closed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Wisconsin group seeking to reduce immigration to the United States is praising the arrests across the state.

Dave Gorak, of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration, said he’s pleased to see the country following through on its immigration laws.

“We are not just a nation of immigrants. We are a sovereign nation and we have the right to determine how many people get the privilege, not the right but the privilege, to come into this country and live among us,” Gorak said.

Gorak was also critical of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and area officials who decried arrests made over the weekend.

Editor’s note: This story was last updated at 8:29 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018 with official numbers from ICE.