Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman | [email protected] | 414.469.9206

AB190 would have local law enforcement act like Immigration agents

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 MADISON, WI – On Wednesday, hundreds of immigrant families and supporters lobbied and protested against AB190/SB275, a bill introduced by Wisconsin Republicans to have local law enforcement act like immigration agents. Wisconsin Republicans have introduced the bills, which are a copycat of Texas’ new anti-immigrant law SB4, and are very similar to AB450, which was defeated through the Day without Latinxs & Immigrants general strike of February 2016.

Community members visited the offices of Governor Walker and every legislator to deliver milk cartons saying “Got Milk? Not without Immigrants / Keep Famlies Together / No AB190.” The group held a rally in the early afternoon featuring a diverse lineup of speakers including dairy workers and farmers, religious leaders, elected officials, and representatives of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union.

“Wisconsin is the dairy state thanks to the strength of immigrant workers,” said Miguel Estrada, a dairy worker from Manitowoc and member of Voces de la Frontera. “Manitowoc produces 13% of the dairy in Wisconsin. I want to ask Governor Walker, without us, who will do this difficult, necessary work? Many people are leaving because of Trump and programs like 287g and now AB190, but we need to stay calm.  We will keep fighting against this bigotry and hatred.”

“AB190 seems to be an affront to all dairy farmers,” said John Rosenow, a dairy farmer from Waumandee. “In recent times, the last 20 years or so, we, Wisconsin dairy farmers, have found someone who wants to do what we love. Their names are Roberto, Armando, Gregorio, and others like them. This bill would have police profile these workers instead of welcoming them into our communities. This is not something that will make the dairy industry thrive but it is something that will restrict growth and in the end reduce jobs. We dairy farmers wonder why the legislature is not trying to create a welcoming atmosphere for our employees knowing that a hostile climate will impact our ability to make a living.”

“We are opposed to any policies like AB190 that will endanger the lives of undocumented and immigrant victims of domestic violence by coercing local law enforcement into acting in the best interests of ICE, rather than the people they are sworn to protect,” said Chase Terrier, Public Policy Coordinator of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “We all deserve equal protection under the law. Our leaders must stand with undocumented and immigrant survivors by opposing the policies that marginalize victims and make them less likely to report crimes. We are all safer when the vulnerable among us are not forced into the shadows of society.”

“It is vital that we again make driver’s cards available to Wisconsin immigrants,” said State Rep. Peter Barca, the Assembly Minority Leader. “We’ve had enough of the anti-immigrant bills! Sit on ’em, will you? It’s so unfortunate that some legislators continue to persist with destructive and divisive legislation like AB190.”

“Critical rights under our constitution apply to everyone in our country,” said Chris Ott, Executive Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “The ACLU supports sanctuary cities and opposes forcing local police to join federal immigration work. This makes everyone less safe by making immigrants fear any contact with the police, even if they need help or want to report an accident or crime. It is racist, and will increase unconstitutional racial profiling. We are proud to work alongside Voces de la Frontera in court, in Congress, and in the Wisconsin Capitol.”

A representative read a statement from Bishop Paul Erickson of the Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. “To force local law enforcement personnel to enforce a broken and destructive immigration system will violate each of these principles, causing vulnerable people to fear any engagement with the very people who are dedicated to protecting and serving them,” said Bishop Erickson. “The proposed legislation will result in people, families, and communities being less safe, and will make it much more difficult for us to work together to create the just and free society that I hope we are all committed to.”

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