For Immediate Release
Keep Up the Pressure on Gov. Walker Following Conflicting Comments on Anti-Immigrant Legislation
MILWAUKEE - Who: State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, Christine Neumann-Ortiz of Voces de la Frontera
What: Press Conference
When: Friday, February 26th, 2pm
Where: El Rey Grocery Store, 916 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive in Milwaukee
Recently Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made important remarks about the two anti-immigrant bills that were the basis for the historic Day without Latinos and Immigrants statewide mass business closures and labor strike on February 18th. One bill, AB450/SB369, would lead police to investigate people's immigration status and detain undocumented people for deportation. The other bill, SB533/AB723, would block counties statewide from issuing local identification cards to people who cannot access state ID.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Gov. Scott Walker told state senators Wednesday that they should focus on improving Wisconsin's economy and not pass a bill to fine so-called sanctuary cities. ‘I don’t think they’re going to and I’m just fine with that,' Walker told reporters. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said last week that GOP senators were unlikely to take up the bill passed by the state Assembly last week.”
On Thursday at the Wisconsin Manufacturing Conference in Milwaukee, Governor Walker defended SB 533 to a reporter from CBS 58 in Milwaukee, but also said that he has not decided yet whether or not to veto or sign the bill. SB533 would prevent counties from issuing local identification cards available to people who cannot obtain Wisconsin State ID.
Also Thursday, Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) issued a statement saying that the Governor told her in a private conversation that while he does not want to see AB450 pass in the Senate, he is unwilling to veto SB533.
Voces de la Frontera issued the following response:
“Governor Walker’s latest statements show that pressure from all over Wisconsin is working,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “We urge employers, workers, students and their families to continue to call Governor Walker and sign the online petition to ensure that he makes a public commitment to veto SB533 and continue to oppose AB450’s passage in the Senate. On March 14th, there will be statewide local actions in the 5 to 7 counties with the largest concentration of Latinos and immigrants in the state to send a message to Governor Walker to veto SB533 and AB450 if it were to come to a vote.
“The truth is, we will not know if AB450 is really dead until March 15th, the last day the Senate will be in session, so on March 14th, we will continue to give voice to the statewide opposition to these anti-immigrant, racist bills.
“Just this week Arizona's state legislature voted down bills similar to Wisconsin’s so-called anti-sanctuary city bill and the bill blocking local ID card programs. “Wisconsin Is Not Arizona” has become a rallying call in farms, cities, and towns throughout Wisconsin in reference to Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant SB1070 law that ignited a national boycott of the state. It would be a disgrace if Wisconsin passed such laws after Arizona voted them down.
"The people of Wisconsin sent a clear message to Governor Walker that Wisconsin rejects such laws, and on the contrary the contributions of immigrants and Latinos are a critical part of our state’. In the same way the grassroots resistance to Arizona’s law garnered national attention, so too has the strong resistance in Wisconsin garnered national and international attention. If Governor Walker does not want Wisconsin to become known as an intolerant, xenophobic state whose policies damage the economy, he needs to commit to veto the anti-local ID bill SB533 and commit to veto AB450 if it were to reach his desk.”
Voces de la Frontera is Wisconsin's leading immigrant rights group - a grassroots organization that believes power comes from below and that people can overcome injustice to build a better world.