Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman

Madison, Wisconsin — Behind closed doors Thursday, a Wisconsin Senate committee passed the controversial anti-immigrant bill SB275. The bill would have public employees act like Immigration agents by barring local governments from stopping their employees from inquiring about immigration status while mandating that local law enforcement comply with warrantless, unconstitutional ICE detainer requests. The bill is a copycat of Texas’ SB4, and is virtually identical to a bill defeated last year through the Day without Latinxs and Immigrants, when 40,000 people went on strike and protested at the Capitol.

Voces de la Frontera will hold a rally on Sunday, November 5th, at 1pm at 2001 S Prairie Ave in Waukesha, outside of Scott Walker’s re-election announcement, to call on Walker to oppose the bill and stop efforts to bring 287g to Waukesha and Milwaukee counties. Buses will come from Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Manitowoc.

“This vote goes against the interests of everyone in Wisconsin, especially immigrants from all over the world,” said Mario Garcia Sierra, a member of Voces de la Frontera’s Madison chapter at a press conference Thursday morning. “Hundreds of people from all over the state testified against this bill a few weeks ago, but it looks like the Senators didn’t get the message. Last year we did a one-day strike, but this year we are getting ready for a two- or three-day strike, or longer, if this bill moves forward. We want to show the contributions that immigrants are making to this state. Governor Walker must speak out against this dangerous bill, and the Senate must not pass it.”

“SB275/AB190 are immoral bills,” said Rabbi Bonnie Margulis of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice. “They target our immigrant brothers and sisters just for being in our country. As people of faith we are told over and over again, ‘look out for the stranger in your midst, because you know what it is to be a stranger in a strange land,’ but these are not strangers. We’re talking about our brothers and sisters, people we work with, who go to school with our kids, own businesses in our community, our friends and neighbors. It’s immoral to pass laws to strike fear in a population that has done nothing but contribute.”

“SB275 will lead to a dramatic decrease in the willingness of crime victims to reach out to law enforcement, meaning violent offenders will continue their abusive behavior unimpeded,” said Chase Tarrier of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. “Because abusers will feel shielded by their victim’s fear of deportation if they contact the authorities, this bill will have the direct opposite of its intended purpose, putting victims all across the state directly in harm’s way.”

“Wisconsin farmers need a stable labor force and business climate, in contrast with the wild swings in immigration policy that we’re currently getting from the federal level,” said Nick Levandofsky, Government Relations Associate with the Wisconsin Farmers Union. “SB275 will mean all of those wild swings at the federal level will be the directive for local law enforcement as well. Wisconsin Farmers Union supports leaving the craziness in Washington, and keeping some measure of stability and predictability here at home.”

“If passed, SB275 would increase fear in Wisconsin’s immigrant communities,” said Laura Dresser, Associate Director of COWS a think-and-do tank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “The individual impacts are significant, but they will spill into the economy as well. The immigant community makes enormous economic contributions to Wisconsin. Immigrants contribute over $5.5 billion annually to Wisconsin’s economy. Fear reduces those contributions. Our state faces labor shortages and an aging workforce. Instead of passing bills like SB275, the state should be pursuing ways to welcome and build the skills of the immigrant community.”

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