(Wisconsin) – Today, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed AB-176, allowing recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be hired as local law enforcement agents. DACA provides partial protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, protecting them from deportation and family separation and allowing them to get a work permit and driver license. Over 600,000 Dreamers are enrolled in the program nationally, with nearly 6,540 young people in Wisconsin currently in the program.
Since pressure from the immigrant rights movement forced President Obama to create the DACA program through executive action in 2012, Republicans have tried to eliminate it. They nearly succeeded last summer when a conservative judge ruled to partially end the program, barring any newly eligible applicants from applying, forcing many young people who’ve lived here most of their lives to live without papers and in fear.
Alejandra Gonzalez, DACA recipient and Development Director at Voces de la Frontera, said:
“Dreamers like me have built careers, started families, contributed to our communities, and paid taxes. Wisconsin is our home, and we condemn this anti-immigrant bill that would only serve to further divide, criminalize and incarcerate immigrant communities.
If Wisconsin Republicans truly cared about Dreamers, why have they repeatedly blocked in-state tuition equity and driver licenses for immigrants in Gov. Evers’ past two state budget proposals? Why have Republicans repeatedly introduced a statewide anti-sanctuary bill that legalizes racial profiling and forces public employees, like police and teachers, to identify and report anyone they suspect is undocumented to ICE? Why aren’t Republicans in the state legislature calling on Congressional Republicans to vote for immigration reform with a path to citizenship or the Dream and Promise Act? Why do they continue to support racist policies like 287g, which turns local law enforcement officers into ICE agents? 287g has been implemented in eight sheriff’s departments in Wisconsin, undermining public safety, terrorizing immigrant communities, and separating families. Dreamers like me are not fooled by this ploy from Wisconsin Republicans to try to trick us into supporting policies that would use Dreamers as a tool to deport our parents, sisters, brothers and friends.
To the Democrats who supported this bill, we are incredibly disappointed. In the context of the dangerous growth of 287g in our state that further criminalizes and incarcerates immigrants and separates families, this legislation is actually dangerous and does not help build a movement for what the majority of immigrants need. Instead, it serves as a way to divide immigrant communities, pitting one immigrant against another. We urge members of the State Senate and Governor Evers to oppose this bill.”