The ACLU of Wisconsin published an extensive, statewide report which investigates the nature of immigration enforcement in Wisconsin and details how close collaboration between local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is fueling the deportation of immigrants. 

The Jail-to-Deportation Pipeline in Wisconsin reveals that law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin have received millions of dollars in federal grant funding for providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with information on incarcerated immigrants who are identified as or suspected to be undocumented – with Walthworth County even sharing information about naturalized US citizens.

Key findings:

  • There has been a sharp increase in the number of partnerships between county sheriff's departments and ICE, from only one in 2018 to eight in 2022.
  • From 2006 to 2020, ICE sought to deport more than 12,000 immigrants living in Wisconsin after picking them up from jails and prisons across the state.
  • The cooperation of local law enforcement with ICE is incentivized and rewarded through the provision of federal grant funding called the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program.
  • The majority of Wisconsin county sheriff departments continue to honor ICE detainer requests, even though they do not have legal authority to do so.
  • Some sheriffs protect their communities by declining to work with federal immigration authorities.

CORRECTION: The ACLU of Wisconsin learned that the Dane County Sheriff's Office repealed in August 2021 the policy for information sharing with ICE which originally appeared on page 12 of our report. We updated the report on September 7, 2022 to correct for this information.