Police chief to send letter on migrant crisis

By Dave Fidlin



President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and a number of state and federal elected representatives will soon receive a letter from Whitewater Police Chief Daniel Meyer, outlining the agency’s challenges in serving the needs of the growing migrant population in the community.

The Common Council on Dec. 19 signed off on a draft letter from Meyer to be sent to the high-level elected authorities. The council also kept the door open to writing a letter of their own, though the specifics of the letter’s contents will be hashed over at a later date.

The introductory sentence in Meyer’s letter outlines the challenges in play, and what is being asked of the elected representatives.

“I am writing to inform you of significant challenges the City of Whitewater faces related to ongoing demographic change, and I am asking for your assistance in obtaining resources to address the situation,” the letter, in part, reads.

The letter from Meyer notes Whitewater currently is hosting an estimated 800 to 1,000 people from Nicaragua and Venezuela.

“Each individual has a different reason for coming here,” the letter continues. “Some are fleeing from a corrupt government, others are simply looking for a better opportunity to prosper. Regardless of the individual situations, these people need resources like anyone else, and their arrival has put great strain on our existing resources.”

From a law enforcement perspective, Meyer said officers have been grappling with several challenges – most notably, the language barrier that exists between the migrants and police. The agency, he said, has been “overcome by costly translation software.”

In the letter, Meyer also outlined some of the well-documented incidents this past year within Whitewater’s migrant community, including a family living in a 10-foot-by-10-foot shed in
-10 degree Fahrenheit temperatures on one notably cold winter day.

“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 kidnapping,” Meyer added.


For the full story, please see the print edition of the Whitewater Register.

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