For the second day of their “Two Days Without Latinxs and Immigrants” general strike for immigrant rights, over 300 immigrant essential workers, families, farmers, students, and allies from across Wisconsin held a student walkout, rally and lobbied at the State Capitol to call on Republican state legislators to stop blocking driver licenses, state IDs, and in-state tuition equity for immigrants.
Yesterday, day one of the two-day strike, approximately 4,000 immigrant essential workers and allies marched from Voces’ office on Milwaukee’s predominantly Latino southside to the federal courthouse. The striking workers marched to demand Biden take executive action to protect all immigrants and end racist, anti-immigrant policies from past administrations, including 287g. 287g deputizes local law enforcement to serve as ICE agents, undermining public safety and legalizing racial profiling.
For background information on Voces de la Frontera and VDLFA’s fight for the restoration of driver licenses and state IDs for immigrants, visit VDLF’s website here.
At the press conference at the Capitol, Governor Tony Evers issued a statement in support of restoring driver licenses and in-state tuition equity. His past two state budget proposals included both of these policies.
At the press conference at the Capitol, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said, “For two straight budgets Governor Evers has proposed drivers’ licenses for all, and in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. This is a clear and unequivocal statement that if you live here, and if you call Wisconsin home, then you are a Wisconsinite and should be afforded equitable opportunities to thrive. Drivers’ licenses are needed, and deserved, by every individual in order to get around safely for work, healthcare, and other necessities. By giving immigrants access to drivers’ licenses, we make our roads safer and eliminate the fear of working parents being separated from their children just because they drive to work.”
Norma Rodriguez, immigrant essential worker from Wausau, WI, said, “As an immigrant essential worker from Wausau, I’m here in Madison today to speak the truth. The truth is that we need to be able to move around freely. As workers we must have equitable and just treatment for all of us, and that starts with restoring access to drivers licenses.”
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of VDLFA, said, “This is a historic day. This is the first time that Voces has organized a tw0-day general strike. We want a welcoming Wisconsin that is free of racism, rejects 287g and is going to bring back driver licenses and in-state tuition for Wisconsin’s immigrant essential workers and families.”
Keydi Osorio, DACA recipient, senior at UW Madison, and board member of Wisconsin Dreamers, said, “My parents brought me to this country from Honduras when I was five years old. I grew up in Kenosha and never once moved out of the state of Wisconsin while living here. When it was time for university, I applied to a UW school no more than five minutes from my house and I was told that I have to pay out-of-state tuition simply because I was not born in the United States. Out of state tuition is roughly double the cost of in-state tuition, and on top of that, because I’m a DACA student I’m not eligible for financial aid. My education must be paid completely out of pocket or I must rely on scholarships. That’s why we’re fighting for In-state Tuition equity. We’re expected to pay more money for a university education in the state of Wisconsin than someone we may have grown up with or sat next to in high school for four years because we’re immigrants.” See Keydi’s full speech here.
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