An immigrant rights group does not have the right to know when federal immigration officials want the Milwaukee County sheriff to hold certain prisoners.
The State Supreme Court ruled 4-2 on Friday that requests from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are exempt from the state Open Records Law.
The Milwaukee advocacy group Voces de la Frontera sued Sheriff David Clarke two years ago, after he refused to say who the government wants in jail for an extra 48 hours. Two lower courts ordered that the documents be released, but four conservative justices on the Supreme Court said federal regulations justified the state’s decision not to release them.
The court’s two liberal justices disagreed. Justice Ann Walsh Bradley said the majority was “chipping away at Wisconsin’s long standing commitment to open government.”
In a statement, Voces attorney Peter Earle criticized the ruling. “This decision represents the worst kind of judicial activism – an activism that responds to the plight of Wisconsin’s immigrant community with an ice-cold heart while empowering a renegade sheriff bent on mass deportations with the secrecy he wants to act on that objective,” he said.