For WNPJ's 20th anniversary, a grassroots lobby day was held on February 23, 2011. One of the focus issues was the opposition of Arizona-like Anti-Immigrant Policies. Below is information that was created for the lobby day and to help with on-going advocacy.
Issue Backgrounder: Immigrant Rights
WNPJ member Francis Pauc critiques new legislation being proposed by State Representative Donald Pridemore ( R-Hartford ) that would require police to stop and question any person if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in this country illegally. The bill is modeled on Arizona's harsh anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070, and would require that any person asked for proof of citizenship who could not provide that proof be jailed until they could come up with the proper documents. Noting the obvious danger of racial profiling as police target those who appear to be hispanic, Frank says, "This is a law just begging to be abused."
All of Wisconsin’s 72 counties are now members of a controversial program that connects state fingerprint databases with a federal immigration registry. The new federal program, called Secure Communities, says its foremost goal is the deportation of aliens convicted of serious crimes, but by the government’s own admission, a large percentage of the people taken into custody since the program began in 2008 had no criminal record.
Immigration advocacy groups, including Voces de la Frontera, the largest in Wisconsin (and a WNPJ member group) have accused the program of using a dragnet approach to deportation.
"Now, more than ever, the administration needs to capitalize on the momentum of the DREAM Act, continuing to push for both legislative and administrative reform," writes Mary Giovagnoli.
"Every day of waiting worsens the situation for immigrants without legal status. The continued degradation of our immigration system isn’t measured in procedural near misses in the House or Senate. It’s measured in lives short-changed, families separated, and dreams shattered. ...
Three members of WNPJ member group Voces de la Frontera were cited for trespassing at a protest at Rep. Paul Ryan's Racine office on Monday. More than 100 people rallied at the Congressman's office in support of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship to undocumented youth who had come to the U.S. at a young age, graduated from high school and then enrolled in college or enlisted in the miltary. According to rally organizers, the Senate and House may vote on the DREAM Act as early as this week. Read more about Voces de la Frontera's protest at Rep. Ryan's office here...
WNPJ's Immigrant Rights workgroup recently lauched a Writers Bureau, to address how the system is broken, why people migrate, the positive contributions of immigrants and history of immigration in our state, and other issues. Recently, two WNPJ members active with the Writers Bureau had their letters to editor concerning immigration issues published:
Saying he wants Wisconsin to be "on the side of Arizona," state Representative Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) is drafting anti-immigrant legislation similar to Arizona's infamous Senate Bill 1070.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Pridemore's bill would apply to anyone arrested, "if police had a reasonable suspicion they were here illegally.
WNPJ's Immigrant Rights workgroup is organizing a Writers Bureau to bring as much visibility as possible to immigration issues. We will address how the system is broken, why people migrate, the positive contributions of immigrants and history of immigration in our state, and myths vs facts. We will also stress the importance of keeping local officials from enforcing immigration laws and/or entering into agreements with ICE.
Can you let us know about immigration issues and news coverage in your area? Are you willing to write letters to the editor? We will help you out. Please contact: email@example.com or call WNPJ at 608 250 9240.