More than 60,000 march for immigrant rights in Milwaukee

Photo: Milwaukee
Journal-Sentinel

An estimated 65,000 marchers filled Milwaukee's National Avenue on Saturday, in one of the largest immigrant-rights marches in the country, organized by WNPJ member group Voces de la Frontera. "In the same way the Wisconsin Congressman Sensenbrenner's bill HR 4437 ignited the immigrant rights movement in 2006; so today has passage of Arizona SB 1070 awakened the nation and opened a new chapter in the civil rights struggle of this country," said Christine-Neumann Ortiz,

Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, speaking of newly-enacted Arizona legislation which requires the police to stop and question anyone if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is an undocumented immigrant.

"We want to send a message of solidarity and humanity against hatred and intolerance," Neumann Ortiz told the cheering crowd. "This has opened a new chapter in the struggle for civil rights. We will not have the forces of hate and bigotry use immigrants as scapegoats for the economy and loss of jobs."

Dairy farmer Karl Klessig, of Saxon Homestead Farm in Manitowoc County, told the crowd that he and other dairy farmers rely on immigrant labor and called immigration reform "critical" to the dairy industry.

At a rally held in Mitchell Park, the marchers learned that Milwaukee Ald. Jim Witkowiak will introduce a resolution Monday asking that the Common Council consider a boycott by not doing business with Arizona-based companies or attending meetings or conferences in that state in protest of the new law.

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