Shortly after President Donald Trump issued a second executive order with regard to immigrant and refugee entry, the Dane County Board planned to amend an ordinance that will now require the county to keep community members’ immigration status confidential.
The amendment provides clarification on what items fall under “confidential information” and outlines which county employees are required to not disclose the information.
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Information the county obtains regarding sexual orientation and immigration status now fall under “confidential information,” according to the amendment.
In an email to The Badger Herald, Supervisor Carousel Bayrd, District 8, said this ordinance protecting confidential immigration status will go a “long way” toward addressing the fear some of her constituents feel.
“The fear in our immigrant community is real,” Baryd said.
According to the amendment, if there is a need for the information to be released to outside agencies, county employees must first talk with the Dane County corporation council. Aside from this, information is not to be released by any county employee except for employees of the District Attorney’s Office, Dane County Sheriff’s Office or the Clerk of Courts.
Bayrd said she wanted to recommend the amendment to the executive council to address any concerns they may have with it.
“I certainly want to protect our immigrant community,” Bayrd. “I also don’t want to give the impression that we are trying to do an end-run around open government. Open government, and open access to legal information, is essential to democracy.”
The county board also approved a resolution to accept funds from a MacArthur Foundation Grant for the Dane County Community Restorative Court.
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Supervisor Sheila Stubbs, District 23, said they will be receiving $50,000 for their Treatment Alternatives and Diversions program, which includes the Drug Court Diversion Program.
The program serves as a problem-solving court for residents in Dane County who have pled guilty to felony-related drug crimes. It urges those convicted to participate in substance use treatment and have case management which focuses on cognitive-behavioral interventions.
If people successfully complete the program, they may receive reduced sentences or other ways of resolution to their criminal cases.