October 22, 2021

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Wisconsin immigrants to hold statewide strike for citizenship on Monday: ‘Our time is now’

MILWAUKEE, WI - FEBRUARY 13:  Protestors gather at  the Milwaukee County Courthouse where they attend a rally against President Donald Trumps policy on immigration February 13, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  As well groups are calling for a general strike against controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke who plans to turn sheriffs into immigration agents.   (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

Wisconsin immigrants to hold statewide strike for citizenship on Monday: ‘Our time is now’

Information about Wisconsin immigrants to hold statewide strike for citizenship on Monday: ‘Our time is now’

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This is not the first such action the state has seen. During the “Day Without Latinos” strike in 2017, hundreds of small businesses closed their doors and the Milwaukee Public Schools excused students who had parental permission to attend rallies protesting the anti-immigrant policies of the previous president, as well as former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Voces de la Frontera said that Monday’s strike is the first of several expected across the country in the coming weeks.

“Thousands of Wisconsin’s growing Latinx and immigrant workforce, multiracial youth and allies are expected to participate by refusing to work, go to school or make any purchases the entire day,” the organization said. “As consumers, immigrants add billions of dollars to Wisconsin’s economy,” the American Immigration Council said last year, paying $1.7 billion in federal taxes and nearly $970 million in state and local taxes in 2018 alone. 

A pathway to citizenship would secure the stability of essential workers who are the backbone of Wisconsin industries, advocates and business leaders said. That benefits not just the state, but the entire country as well. There’s lots of cows out here, so who takes care of them?” Wisconsin Examiner reports dairy farmer John Rosenow said during a recent Zoom call organized by Voces de la Frontera. “Right now, about 85% of the milk harvested from those cows is by immigrants.” But it’s not just Wisconsin. Undocumented farmworkers everywhere feed America.

“They already are paying all the taxes; they already are participating in the economy—they’re keeping local restaurants and local food places supplied,” Rosenow continued, acknowledging the financial contributions undocumented immigrants already make. “I mean, they’re a part of our existence, and I can’t think of anybody I would rather have as a neighbor than the immigrants that I know.”

“Democrats in both the U.S. House and Senate have voted in favor of the Build Back Better reconciliation budget that includes $107 billion for citizenship for millions of essential workers, Dreamers, TPS holders and farmworkers,” Voces de la Frontera said. “However, last Wednesday, September 29, the Senate Parliamentarian rejected including a path to citizenship in the reconciliation package for a second time. The Senate Parliamentarian is charged with interpreting Senate rules and her opinion is not binding.”

Advocates are urging Vice President Harris and Senate Democrats to overrule her opinion and include legalization in the budget reconciliation package, with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient Karina Ruiz last week urging Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to listen to the majority of Arizona voters who support a pathway to citizenship and act on relief. “This is my life and the life of millions,” Ruiz told her during a flight. But Sinema mostly ignored her. Constituents like Ruiz have been forced to question Sinema in these settings because the Arizona senator “hasn’t had a public event or town hall in years,” Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) said, according to the Arizona Republic.

”To all my fellow immigrant essential workers watching—we can’t remain in the shadows. We have to unite and march on October 11 and demand that our rights be respected,” Perea continued. “I’m closing my business on October 11th because we’ve been fighting for years and it’s now or never,” said Blanca Cano, an immigrant business owner in Waukesha. “We need to win a path to citizenship this year so we can keep building up the economy by buying a car or a house and not worrying about the future and being deported.” Rosenow said, “We need the Democrats to live up to their word and get this done.”

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