Gov. Tony Evers knocked Republican lawmakers for striking the budget provisions he backed that would have granted driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants.
“At the end of the day, it was all about politics,” Evers said of the decision Thursday. “Republicans put divisiveness and ideology before pragmatic policies that Wisconsinites absolutely support.”
Spokesmen for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, were not immediately available for comment.
The guv’s comments came at a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at the Capitol. Evers, members of his cabinet and state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, used the event to call for the state to become more “equitable and inclusive.”
Evers recalled the life story of his wife’s father, who immigrated from Holland in 1913 and made a successful career working for the Kohler company and was able to have “a seat at the table” and “be a part of U.S. society.”
“But he had an advantage, right? The color of his skin,” Evers said. “We have to change that in Wisconsin.”
Despite seeing his proposals “chopped out of budget” by Republicans, Evers pledged his administration was “not going to have that go away.”
Zamarripa, meanwhile, knocked President Trump as a chief of state “who has scapegoated Latinos and uttered some of the most disrespectful, offensive rhetoric we’ve heard from an elected leader.”
The Milwaukee Dem said Trump’s barbs toward undocumented Latinos pained her, because “they are a part of our communities.”
“They want to work hard and raise their families here in Wisconsin, just like the German and Polish immigrants who came here before us,” she said.
But while Zamarripa acknowledges the need to “keep fighting and advocating,” she added that “benchmarks of change” such as the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration had to be celebrated.
“A moment for us to stop and catch our breath, to set aside the fight just for a moment to honor each other, to acknowledge how far we have come while never forgetting how much further we have to go,” she said.