‘We Are in Dire Need’: Small Town’s Police Chief Begs Biden for Help After Being Overwhelmed by Migrants

‘We Are in Dire Need’: Small Town’s Police Chief Begs Biden for Help After Being Overwhelmed by Migrants

Almost 1,400 miles from the Rio Grande, a Wisconsin city is begging President Joe Biden for help dealing with issues linked to immigrants, including illegal ones.

Whitewater is a 15,000-person community west of Milwaukee. A Dec. 28 letter from Police Chief Daniel Meyer and City Manager John Weidl said that in the past two years, an estimated 800 to 1,000 immigrants have arrived, mostly from Nicaragua and Venezuela.

“I’ll be the first to say that that’s our best guess. And that’s a very difficult number to get accurate, because we’re talking about at least a portion of the population that’s undocumented,” Meyer said in an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio.

The letter to Biden said that in a small community, small numbers by metro standards can cause big problems.

“Communicating with an immigrant population that generally speaks only Spanish has been a challenge we’ve worked to overcome by the use of costly translation software,” the letter said.

“We have found approximately three times the number of unlicensed drivers on our roadways compared to previous years,” the letter said, resulting in a drain on police time.

“Our department averaged 2,437 self-initiated traffic stops annually from 2010-2021. In 2022, that number was reduced to 1,719, and in 2023, we are on pace for 1,246. That is an incredible statistic that shows how our staff is struggling to address the workload.”

The immigrant population spike has fueled “a significant trust barrier between the immigrant population and law enforcement,” the letter said.

“In many cases this has led to individuals providing false documents and misleading our staff, which further increases our time involved in investigating cases.

“Finally, our law enforcement staff have responded to a number of serious crimes linked to immigrants in some manner including the death of an infant child, multiple sexual assaults, and a kidnapping.”

The letter did not condemn those who have caused problems, saying, “Our officers have also seen first-hand the terrible living conditions that many migrants are living in. We’ve seen a family living in a 10’x10’ shed in -10-degree temperatures.”

The letter stressed how crime increases from the plight of migrants.

“We’ve seen many over-occupied apartments that create non-familial living situations, which unfortunately has led to a number of situations involving juvenile victims of sexual assault,” the letter said.

“None of this information is shared as a means of denigrating or vilifying this group of people,” the letter said. … “We are in dire need of additional resources. We need additional staffing, specifically in the police department, but also in the form of an immigrant liaison.

“The impact of demographic change that we are seeing in Whitewater is acute. It is unique in Walworth County and even in the State of Wisconsin,” the letter said, adding, “This is a critical humanitarian issue, and our City needs government assistance in order to continue to serve our entire community properly.”

Meyer later told Wisconsin Public Radio the letter “was not done to take a political angle. … This letter was not written to give people political ammunition. This letter was written to describe the situation that we’re facing here in Whitewater, and to attempt to secure resources to address it.”

Weidl also said the intent of the letter was not to demean anyone, but to gain resources, according to WISC-TV.

“The central theme of the letter is that everybody in Whitewater deserves the basic services that the city provides to everyone, whether that be clean water, police and fire, parks and recreation, library books. Everyone deserves that,” Weidl said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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