Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman, 414-469-9206, [email protected]
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN — In Tuesday’s Milwaukee County Sheriff’s election, Earnell Lucas defeated ex-Sheriff David Clarke’s longtime assistant Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt in a race that became a referendum on collaboration between the Milwaukee Sheriff’s Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in deportations. Voces de la Frontera Action worked to defeat Schmidt after he decided to continue Clarke’s policy of handing people over to ICE for deportation through the use of warrantless ICE detainer requests, which Trump has used to separate hundreds of Milwaukee families, and which federal courts have declared unconstitutional.
Billionaire Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele spent over $300,000 on misleading advertising portraying Schmidt as a progressive reformer in the month leading up to Election Day. Voces de la Frontera Action’s canvassing, phone-banking, and protest actions led a coalition effort that was able to overcome Abele’s spending by exposing Schmidt’s true record concerning collaboration with ICE, his role in the deaths at the county jail, and his disturbing comments saying domestic violence survivors should submit to their spouse.
The Sheriff’s office became open after David Clarke resigned in August 2017 following two Day without Latinx & Immigrants general strikes against his application to turn his deputies into ICE agents through the federal 287g program.
“Earnell Lucas’ landslide victory over Clarke’s henchman was a clear sign of support for sanctuary policies and a rejection of local law enforcement collaboration with ICE in the separation of families,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera Action. “It was a mass uprising against 287g that drove Sheriff Clarke out of office, and it’s organizing that has ushered in a Sheriff committed to keeping families together, challenging racial profiling, and working to end mass incarceration. As we witness every day the disturbing ramp up on the part of ICE and Border Patrol, and the rise of the far right, this organizing has never been more urgent. Every time we win in one place, it builds support around the country for policies of resistsance to Trump’s white nationalist war on immigrant families.”