A resolution aimed at keeping Dane County accessible to immigrants was tabled because it was seen as challenging the sheriff's authority.
"I think people perceived that it was in opposition to the sheriff," says County Supv. John Hendrick, who introduced the proposal - and who used the sheriff's office as an example of where problems were happening. "I knew there would be opposition, with the sheriff leading the opposition. So, I'm not surprised by it."
The proposal called on county agencies not to ask or report people's immigration status, unless required by law. The Public Protection and Judiciary Committee tabled it Tuesday. Hendrick admits the board "cannot force [the sheriff] to do anything."
Hendrick says illegal immigrants have ended up being deported for minor crimes like public drunkenness or not having a driver's license. Families have been broken up, and some people are afraid to call the police when they need help. He doesn't want to see that happen with other county services.
"I hope people aren't afraid to approach other areas of county government," he says. "We don't want people being afraid to approach the health department. That doesn't do them any good, and it doesn't do us any good."