Contact: Sam Singleton-Freeman, [email protected], 414-469-9206
MILWAUKEE – On Friday, Voces de la Frontera will hold a press conference at 2pm at their Milwaukee office to formally announce the May 1st Day Without Latinxs & Immigrants, a general strike and statewide mobilization on the Capitol in Madison to urge the legislature to restore driver licenses for immigrant families. Speakers will include a dairy farmer, immigrant business owners, and families affected by the denial of driver licenses due to immigration status. Organizers will announce a preliminary list of 50+ businesses that have committed to close on May 1st and join the mobilization in Madison. Buses are expected from 19 cities.
May 1st is a national day of action for immigrant and worker rights. Marches are expected in at least ten cities nationwide to resist the Trump Administration’s attacks on immigrant and refugee families and to demand policies that stop deportations and keep families together. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has included measures to restore driver licenses for immigrant Wisconsinites in his 2019-2021 state budget proposal, and the Dairy Business Association as well as leaders from both parties have spoken out in support. Wisconsinites could obtain driver licenses regardless of immigration status until 2007, when a law passed by the legislature the previous year to take licenses away from immigrants without a Social Security Number went into effect.
“We’re organizing this statewide Day without Latinxs & Immigrants to send a strong message to the state legislature that we need bipartisan solutions to restore driver licenses for immigrants,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “Driver licenses are a Wisconsin priority that needs to remain in the budget. Under the Trump Administration, we have seen continuous xenophobic rhetoric and relentless attacks and human rights violations against immigrants both in border communities and in places like Wisconsin. A simple driving without a license infraction is one of the primary ways that ICE has targeted people. This has had a negative impact on our economy as less people shop or work in jobs like agriculture and dairy where there is already a serious labor shortage. In the absence of immigration reform, as the state of Wisconsin, we need to step up and honor immigrant families and restore their right to drive, so people can have an identification when they engage with law enforcement and others, drive legally, have access to good insurance, and not live in fear of being separated form their families and communities. A very diverse coalition supports driver licenses, including dairy farmers and workers, Republicans and Democrats, law enforcement, businesses, unions, people of faith, and organizations that work with Latinx, immigrant, and refugee communities. May 1st will be a day of solidarity for people of all backgrounds to stand for a welcoming and inclusive Wisconsin.”
To date, organizational cosponsors of the Wisconsin May 1st Day Without Latinxs and Immigrants include Kids Forward, Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, Madison Teachers Inc., Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, American Federation of Teachers Local 212, Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1, SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, United Steelworkers District 2, United Auto Workers (UAW) Southeast Wisconsin, Laborers Local 113, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, Human Rights Campaign, United Food and Commercial Workers, UAW Local 469, Fight for $15 Wisconsin, Carpenters Local 264, UAW Local 1866, the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph, and Milwaukee Turners.
The Day Without Latinxs & Immigrants for driver licenses will take place on May 1st and culminate in a rally at the Capitol at 11am. Voces has organized buses from 18 cities across the state (locations and times here). Milwaukee’s buses will leave from 1027 S 5th St at 8:30am.
Who: Voces de la Frontera, immigrant families, dairy farmers, immigrant business owners, more
What: Press conference to formally announce the Wisconsin May 1st Day Without Latinxs & Immigrants to Restore Driver Licenses for All
When: Friday, April 26, 2pm
Where: Voces de la Frontera, 1027 S 5th St, Milwaukee
Livestream to be available on Facebook