Wisconsin DREAMers Celebrate Anniversary of “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” & Kick Off Statewide Tour for Humane Immigration Reform

Representative JoCasta Zamarripa and County Supervisor Peggy West Join Immigrant Youth to Call for Broad & Inclusive Path to Citizenship  

While Congress is in recess and the President is on vacation, 44,000 immigrant families will be torn apart through deportation. 

August 15th marks one year since President Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a mandate through executive order that allows DREAMers the opportunity to come out of the shadows and be free from fear of deportation as well the ability to get a work permit and a driver’s license.  Although DACA represents important progress, DREAMers and their parents need Congress to pass broad legalization with a path to citizenship this year.

At a rally in front of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, students, elected officials, business leaders, and immigration reform advocates celebrated the anniversary of DACA and launched a 12-city statewide tour for humane immigration reform during the August recess, titled “License to Dream: Strengthening Wisconsin Through Humane Immigration Reform”.    

Click here to view photos.

Gerardo Alvarado, 24, received his DACA approval last January.  “DACA changed everything for me.  I can live now without fear of deportation.  It’s incredible to see my friends now working and driving legally and insured.  And this we know that this just the first step to much larger reforms that have been desperately needed for so long.”

“We’re here today to highlight not just what immigrants and their allies want in an immigration bill, but what we don’t want – more ineffective and costly enforcement that continues to separate families, undermine public safety, and waste limited resources,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, exective director of Voces de la Frontera.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Peggy West spoke about how immigrants in Milwaukee who are detained for non-violent offenses are supposed to no longer be subject to additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigations, thanks to a resolution passed by the County Board last year, but his is not being upheld.

Valeria Gonzalez, a 24 year old student at the University of Milwaukee, who received Deferred Action this past year, says the ability to work legally changed her life.

“I am so thankful to be a recent DACA recipient, and celebrate this victory with so many others as we move forward with our lives. My only wish on this DACAversary is that we pass comprehensive immigration reform this year. Our families and undocumented friends have dreams of better lives too, and they should not have to wait 10 more years. I’m now able to work and apply to new jobs without fear of being turned down. I’m able to pursue my career goals when in the past this task seemed almost impossible given that I was undocumented.”

“Legalization with a path to citizenship is an increasingly bi-partisan issue,” said State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa. “Last month, 46 of my colleagues in the Wisconsin Senate and House, both Democrat and Republican, signed a letter urging the US Congress to support comprehensive immigration reform.”

TOUR DETAILS:

In addition to the human toll that Congressional inaction is costing, the “License to Dream” tour will visit cities and towns across Wisconsin to highlight how legalization would contribute significantly to the economy of our state, and call for:

• An end to ineffective and costly enforcement and the devastating deportations that continue to separate Wisconsin families

• A broad and inclusive path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people currently in the US

• Keeping children out of foster care system by keeping families together

TOUR SCHEDULE:

Friday Aug. 16- Madison

12 pm at Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Office   201 W. Washington St. Madison, WI

Monday Aug. 19- Pewaukee 12 pm at Pewaukee DMV  2019 Golf Rd Pewaukee, WI

Tuesday Aug 20- Fond du Lac  833 S. Rolling Meadows Drive, 12 pm

Wednesday Aug 21 – Green Bay  DMV 942 Vanderperren Way, 12 pm

Thursday Aug. 22 Wausau   Wausau DMV, 5301 Rib Mountain Dr.  54401, 12 pm

Friday Aug. 23- Eau Claire TBD

Sunday Aug 25- Janesville  12:30 p.m. St. Patrick’s Church 315 Cherry Street, Janesville, WI / Reception to immediately follow in the Old 4th Ward Park 410 West Racine St.

Wednesday Aug 28- Kenosha TBD

Thursday Aug 29- Burlington TBD

Saturday Sept. 7- Racine TBD

ABOUT THE TOUR STOPS: We will have a DREAMer who is a DACA recipient and has been able to obtain their license, and because of DACA, drive from their city to the next stop (relay style). At each stop we will highlight the economic benefits for WI that CIR will create and deliver a giant check, which will reflect those numbers. The check will travel the state and be delivered through throughout the relay.

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