In a highly publicized effort to reassure its substantial illegal alien population, a U.S. city has actually passed an ordinance guaranteeing that it won’t follow in Arizona’s footsteps by enacting laws to help curb immigration.
Lawmakers in Madison, Wisconsin’s capital city, unanimously passed the resolution this week because minorities in the area feel that Arizona’s new law will cause backlash all the way in the Badger State. Scheduled to take effect next month, Arizona’s measure (SB 1070) makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation, bans “sanctuary city” policies and requires local police to check the immigration status of all residents who have encounters with authorities.
President Obama has ordered the Justice Department to fight the Arizona law, which he believes is racist and unconstitutional. Officials in Madison couldn’t agree more and they want illegal aliens in their beloved city to feel safe. Besides vowing to oppose any measure that encourages discrimination based on race, their resolution asks law enforcement officers not to target immigrants and county jail officials not to report booked illegal aliens to federal authorities.
This sort of protection is nothing new. Madison has long offered illegal immigrants sanctuary along with several other Wisconsin municipalities, including Racine and Dane County. Last year Wisconsin passed legislation that gives illegal aliens discounted tuition at the state’s public colleges and universities and lawmakers came close to approving a measure to give them special driver’s licenses.
For decades illegal immigrants were able to obtain driver’s licenses in Wisconsin but in 2005 the privilege was rescinded to comply with a federal law (Real ID Act) requiring states to verify the authenticity of every driver’s license applicant by 2011. Legislators came close to offering illegal immigrants, who won’t meet the new federal security standards, special cards but made a last-minute decision not to when the issue came under public scrutiny.