Chief Smith Discusses ICE Arrests in Green Bay

Published: Sep. 25, 2018 at 11:45 AM CDT
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Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith talked about several recent arrests in Green Bay made by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Yesterday, Voces de la Frontera sent out a press release saying that ICE agents arrested dozens of people in their homes, workplaces and in traffic stops around Wisconsin.

Organizers for Voces say that 5 people here in the Green Bay area were arrested.

They were part of the arrests by ICE that captured 11 people in the Madison area, 15 people in Arcadia and three people in Milwaukee.

"Well, it was a bit of a surprise for us to find out that the immigration folks were here in town," said Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith. "Generally they contact us in advance, let us know they are coming, but this time, for some reason, they didn't."

Chief Smith said police didn't find out about the ICE arrests until they started receiving a number of phone calls form the Hispanic community.

The chief said some in the community called police not sure if these were actual immigration agents or somebody impersonating an agent.

"Again, it was a bit of a surprise," said Chief Smith. "It's a lot of anxiety for people in the community, because they are pulling people out of homes, out of businesses and obviously it's disconcerting to some folks."

Chief Smith said ICE usually contacts the police department ahead of times, but he added that immigration agents are not obligated to tell police.

"We have community partners we have built a bank of trust with and they know they can trust the police department to be square with them, they can trust the police department will treat them properly," said Smith. "So we don't want to lose that trust."

Green Bay Police and a member of the Green Bay mayor's office held a meeting last night with the Hispanic community to help answer questions and calm fears about the arrests.

The arrests were part of an ICE operation in 14 counties in Wisconsin on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.