Fabiola Hamden- photo courtesy Marcus Miles Photography

Guests:  Fabiola Hamden, Dane County Immigration Affairs Specialist;  Erin Barbato, Director, Immigrant Justice Clinic, UW Law School

“To our local immigrant community:…In Dane County, we welcome you, we respect you, we stand with you and we want to assist you through these challenging times.” Those were the words of Dane County Executive Joe Parisi following the recent unexpected appearance of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents arresting and detaining immigrants in Dane County and other Wisconsin communities. This action has created unprecedented fear within the immigrant community causing people not to go to work, children to miss school, and stories to spread – some which are not true but cause additional panic.

Sensing the need to better serve the immigrant community, earlier this year County Executive Parisi proposed the creation of a County Immigration Specialist which was approved by the Dane County Board of Supervisors. This position provides outreach to immigrant and refugee communities and connects them to the Dane County Immigrant Assistance Collaborative – a partnership of different agencies and organizations supporting immigrants.

On this program, Fabiola Hamden and Erin Barbato bring clarity to the status of immigrants in our communities, both undocumented and legal residents. They describe what happened when ICE appeared without following established protocol, the legal options of those detained, and the breadth of services available to support immigration integration in the U.S.

A Dane County Immigrant Assistance Fund has been established and is being managed by the Madison Community Foundation.