Wisconsin Senate “Unlikely to Take up AB450″ following Day Without Latinos & Immigrants

Spokeswoman for Sen. Fitzgerald says Senate unlikely to take up AB450/SB369

Thursday saw work stoppages, business closures, and student walk-outs statewide and a massive mobilization at the Capitol in Madison to defeat racist, anti-immigrant legislation
AB450/SB369 would lead police to investigate people’s immigration status and detain undocumented people for deportation.
SB533/AB723 would block counties statewide from issuing local identification cards to people who cannot access state ID

Thursday, February 18th, was A DAY WITHOUT LATINOS AND IMMIGRANTS IN WISCONSIN. The mass community and labor strike in Wisconsin of Latinos and immigrants garnered national and international attention. According to Univisión, Wisconsin’s dairy industry operated at half capacity yesterday. Hundreds of businesses closed, hundreds more were affected by worker absence, and thousands of students walked out of class. Tens of thousands of immigrant workers, students, and their families and supporters converged on the Capitol in Madison in the largest mobilizations since Act 10. Dozens of buses and car caravans came to the Capitol from more than 30 cities throughout Wisconsin. Thousands more not present at the Capitol participated in work stoppages and did not buy anything.

The actions were called to resist two racist, anti-immigrant bills (AB450/SB369 and SB533/AB723). AB450/SB369 aims to increase collaboration between police and Immigration agents, while SB533/AB723 seeks to block counties statewide from creating identification cards available to those who cannot obtain state ID.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Senate would not likely take up AB 450/SB 369.

“Yesterday shows that Latinos and immigrants are serious about ensuring these bills don’t pass and they are willing to use their economic power to protect their families and community,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “And they are willing to do it again if necessary. While we welcome the news following the action that Senator Fitzgerald says AB450 is not a priority, it is not yet certain, till the session closes. In addition, SB533 passed both houses and the Governor could sign it. Since he hasn’t made a clear commitment to oppose both bills, we feel that we must maintain the pressure to ensure that he hears the voice of Latinos, immigrants, and their supporters. To defeat these bills we are asking people to sign the online petition to Governor Walker and their elected officials to deliver that message and to organize locally as part of a statewide network that we are formalizing. We are inviting the tens of thousands of people who took action today to join us in building chapters of Voces de la Frontera in cities and towns throughout Wisconsin where Latinos and immigrants live to have a greater voice in our state.”

Hundreds of dairy workers and dairy farmers representing Wisconsin’s signature industry were a powerful presence at the Capitol yesterday. “It was amazing seeing so many thousands of people,” said Alejandro Vazquez, a head feeder at Rog Prairie Dairy in Avalon. “It meant a lot to me to see so many dairy workers and dairy employers there showing support. I have worked in dairy for 8 years, and as far as I have seen, Latinos do all of the hard labor in dairy. Dairy owners know how important Latinos are for the industry, and so does everyone else. One out of ten jobs in Wisconsin are connected to dairy and agriculture, so really a lot of people depend on Latino dairy workers. What I most loved about yesterday was how many children were present. Yesterday showed my children that they should not be ashamed of who they are, that they can’t let people look down on them because of the color of their skin, or their language, or because of their parents’ background. I traveled to the rally with 11 of my coworkers and with our employer, and when we arrived we could hear the crowd 10 blocks away. It was an amazing feeling.”

“The dairy industry is very unique,” said John Rosenow, co-owner with his wife of Rosenhome Dairy, a 500-cow dairy in Western Wisconsin. “We are a profession where not a lot of people want to do what we do, and we need people to help us milk the cows and do everything that’s required 24 hours a day. In order for the dairy industry to thrive we need immigrants. We need our lawmakers to help immigrants live in Wisconsin and enjoy it and not try to make it difficult. The actions of the legislature accomplish all the bad things and none of the good things.”

by Joe Brusky

Voces De La Frontera
1027 South 5th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204–1734 United States

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on February 19, 2016

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