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Milwaukee immigrant rights protest targets Wisconsin Senator Johnson

By staff

Milwaukee immigrant rights activists protesting outside Senator Ron Johnson’s of

Milwaukee, WI – On May 30, activists from Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) and Voces de la Frontera organized a rally of 200-plus outside the Federal Court House in downtown Milwaukee. Inside, Senator Ron Johnson met with delegates from Milwaukee’s Mexican and Latino community to discuss his position on immigration reform.

An immigration reform bill is making its way through Congress, recently approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In response, immigrant rights groups across the country are making sure that the voices of those directly affected by the unjust immigration system are being heard. Johnson repeatedly says that the Senate bill does not put enough emphasis on border enforcement, despite the fact that the bill calls for a total militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border.

As the delegation negotiated with Johnson, the rally outside gained momentum, with speakers energizing the crowd under the slogan, “Family unity – citizenship now.” When the delegation came out of the meeting, after being unable to sway Johnson from his reactionary, far-right position, 18 trained activists took the streets and performed civil disobedience. The protesters linked arms and chanted, “Immigration is not a crime, family unity – now is the time!”

Francisca Meráz, an organizer with YES, was the spokesperson for the civil disobedience. She stated, “I am so tired of seeing my cousins cry when they get married because their mother or father could not be there, or when they see their mom or dad for the first time in years via Skype. Even worse, when I see their eyes light up with joy at the news of immigration reform, I am angry at the possibility that it will not provide a meaningful path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people in this country. I need a path to citizenship for my family, and that is why I am calling on the president to end the record number of deportations happening under his administration, and calling on Senator Johnson to help keep our families together by supporting legalization that is not contingent on enforcement.”

The rally and action were part of the week of action called by the Legalization for All Network.

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