Thursday, February 18, 2016

"Day without Latinos" sheds light on anti-immigrant bills

Bills demonstrate how mean-spirited GOP is when it comes to immigrants

Thousands of immigrants rights advocates plan to protest in Madison today in what’s being called the “Day without Latinos.”

The protests are meant to give Wisconsinites across the state a chance to recognize the important role that immigrants play in our state and our economy.

As Wisconsin Public Radio reports, farms across the state will feel the brunt of their importance, noting that “Latino immigrants make up more than 40 percent of the hired help on state dairy farms.” Cities across the state will also feel their impact, as several restaurants and other service industry jobs rely heavily on immigrant labor.

The protests are against two bills in the state legislature that are likely to hit Gov. Scott Walker’s desk.
One of the bills in question passed both the state Assembly and Senate Tuesday despite facing strong opposition from both immigrants and local officials in Madison and Milwaukee. It bars cities from creating local photo ID cards that immigrants can use when interacting with law enforcement. The Assembly also passed another bill that bars local governments from adopting ordinances that prevent police or other local officials from asking crime suspects about immigration status. The Senate is scheduled to take that bill up in March.
Emphases in bold added.

Protesters in front of
Nuestro Mundo School
on Thursday morning
Those two bills would make the lives of immigrants across Wisconsin much more difficult. Immigrants would feel like less a part of our society, and would be more inclined to hide in the shadows rather than cooperate with law enforcement during criminal investigations.

The bills also infringe upon local municipality rights and local control, a cornerstone of what it used to mean to be a Republican.

But more importantly, these types of laws are indicative of how Republicans feel about immigrants overall (whether we’re dealing with Republicans in the state or nationally). The GOP sends a clear message of disrespect for our state’s immigrant community with these bills, loud enough to be heard from Madison to Manitowoc -- that immigrants aren’t welcome here.

These protests are meant to counter that sentiment. I’m not an immigrant, I’m not Latino, but I do support immigrants who choose to make Wisconsin their home. These bills are not what this state is about -- and I am hopeful that these bills, if they do become law, will one day be repealed by a more open and more generous state legislature and governor.

UPDATE (11:05 AM): Per WKOW's Greg Neumann on Twitter, apparently Speaker Robin Vos is afraid of Latinos?

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