June 22, 2018
Supervisor Carousel Andrea Bayrd 608.658-7333 bayrd@countyofdane.com Supervisor Kelly Danner 608.721-7457 danner@countyofdane.com
County Board

Demand Governor Walker Not Send Wisconsin National Guard to Border States


Twenty-six members of the Dane County Board of Supervisors signed a letter Thursday to President Trump and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressing outrage that the United States government has adopted a policy to separate children from their parents and families at the United States / Mexico border. 


While recognizing that President Trump signed an executive order to stop family separation, the letter points out that the order is patently inadequate to address the humanitarian crisis created by the President’s policy.  The order only applies to the first 20 days after families enter the United States. It does not address the cruelty of detaining those crossing the border, even if it is without separating families.  Nor does it prohibit separating children from their families after 20 days.


Further, the executive order does not address the need for an immediate reunification process for the children already separated from their families. 


“We are a nation of immigrants, and we were founded as a nation of refuge,” said Supervisor Carousel Andrea Bayrd, who represents District 8 in Madison. “The majority of those crossing the southern border of the United States are seeking asylum, fleeing persecution and horrendous violence in their home nations. This horrendous, racist policy of separating families betrays everything that is great in America,” she added.


In a second letter, members of the County Board wrote to Governor Scott Walker demanding a  halt to deployment of Wisconsin National Guard troops to the United States’ southern border. Currently, two dozen Wisconsin National Guard troops are scheduled to arrive in Arizona by the end of the week, with more to follow in the coming weeks, with the intention of supporting federal border patrol agents.


The letter calls out the intention of the federal government to eliminate time limits on the detention of children, and compares the practice to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  Wisconsin participated in that ignoble chapter of American history with an internment camp located at Camp McCoy. 


“The detention of children is –on the very face of it – inhumane and certainly does not reflect family-centric Wisconsin values,” said Supervisor Kelly Danner, who represents District 11 in Madison. “Governor Walker would be in good company with the Republican governors of Massachusetts and Maryland, as well as the Democratic governors of Virginia, Delaware, and North Carolina, who have announced they will pull state troops from the southern border or cancel deployments.  These governors will not be party to policing innocent children,” she said.    


With the spotlight on the heartbreaking, man-made tragedy unfolding on the border, supervisors likewise recognize the continued stresses facing the immigrant and refugee community here in Dane County.


“In Dane County we believe our neighbors deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Supervisor Shelia Stubbs, who represents District 23 in South Madison.  “Not only do I embrace the Board’s advocacy for those children and families suffering in detention centers on the border, but I am also proud of our support of Dane County’s immigrant community.  I believe we can and must do even more.”


Last year Dane County created a new county position working with the community-based Joining Forces for Families program to connect those in need of services to help that’s available. Dane County also committed $150,000 to establish an Immigrant Assistance Fund at the Madison Community Foundation.  The fund is for a range of direct services and education.  

Donate to the fund at www.madisongives.org/immigrantassistance