Eau Claire (WQOW) — Local immigrant communities are concerned after federal authorities arrested dozens in Wisconsin, four of them here in Eau Claire County.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, released that over half of the 83 arrested has prior criminal histories, but 16 did not.
Related Story: ICE makes arrests in the Chippewa Valley
News 18 spoke with the president of El Centro de Conexion de Chippewa Valley, and a member of JONAH’S Immigration Task Force about their concerns following the recent arrests. They said they work with many families in our area who are anxious about what to do next.
“If that immigrant happens to be the breadwinner of the family, which in many cases we know in Eau Claire they were, then that takes away the sole income of that family,” said Rebecca Denny, president of El Centro de Conexion. “So, now we have a lot of children who are going, unfortunately, hungry and are worried about housing.”
Mireya Sigala, board member of El Centro and a member of JONAH agreed, and said the reasoning for the ICE arrests, particularly the claims of basing them on criminal backgrounds paints an unfair narrative about the community.
“We need to start with speaking the truths and actually knowing the facts about the community that surrounds it, dispelling those fears and knowing, simply that we have an immigration policy that is currently not working, and just as well as our undocumented immigrants they want a good policy, they want to be able to come in here legally,” Sigala said.
They also told News 18 El Centro de Conexion de Chippewa Valley is not only a resource for impacted families, but a tool of education, and they want anyone to be able to reach out to them with questions or concerns.