“Let’s keep on Mobilizing”

In more than 26 cities across the United States mobilizations are being held as part of a National Week of Action for immigration reform to deliver a message to President Obama to keep his promise to end enforcement only measures and pass humane immigration reform.

Under the new administration legalization has been delayed while enforcement only programs, such as 287g, which turns local and state police into immigration agents, have expanded and racial profiling and human suffering have grown.

In Milwaukee on October 10th, Voces de la Frontera organized a march of 2,000 and rally at Mitchell Park. The event was organized to also send a message to city officials that the community opposes any effort to reintroduce a proposed ordinance that would have required verifying the immigration status of anyone applying for commercial or professional licenses. At Voces’ request Mayor Barrett issued a public statement on the proposed ordinance to be read the rally. It stated: “The regulation of immigration is exclusively a federal power, and the City of Milwaukee “Is not the appropriate jurisdiction to enforce the 1996 law enacted by the federal government. The City currently provides licensing services that support business operations, are efficient and provide adequate protections for the public. It is my intention that these services will continue to be provided to the public in the future as they are today.”

Currently there is a petition for business owners that is being circulated and is available at Voces requesting a meeting with the mayor, the president of the city council and Alderman Witkowiak to ensure that such a breach of communication does not occur in the future. In the current economic crisis we don’t need more unemployment, loss of public services or families forced to sell their homes. Beyond the economic reality we want to live in a city that challenges blind prejudice and values the diversity of cultures—past and present.
State Representative Josh Zepnik also addressed the crowd and pledged his commitment to continue to fight for safe roads as new legislation for driving cards is introduced in the state legislature this year. Voces de la Frontera is inviting community residents and members to join us on October 17th to canvass the neighborhood and collect signatures of voters in Senator Carpenter’s district to challenge his claim that 87% of Latino voters do not support driving cards for immigrants. It was this lie and betrayal to the Latino community that was the reason driving cards were stripped from the state budget earlier this year.
Chris Piszezck from Students from Students United for Immigrant Rights and Dominique Evans, Students United in the Struggle, celebrated the recent in-state tuition victory and motivated the crowd to press our federal politicians to support passage of the DREAM Act in 2009.

Marissa Ruiz Torrijos, reminded everyone of the urgent necessity of immigration reform, recounting how her husband was recently detained and facing deportation after he filed a workman’s compensation claim and a private insurance company, Western Mutual Fund, filed identity theft charges as way to circumvent labor law and paying workman’s compensation. Los Picosos Omar “El Plebe” and “El Chino” of La Gran D offered very moving testimonies in support of the cause.
Maria Morales, Voces de la Frontera Racine Coordinator, invited supporters to join Voces and its youth chapters in delivering a petition to the offices of Congressman Ryan on October 13th condemning his decision to be interviewed at an event organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have listed FAIR as a hate group because of its ties to white supremacist organizations.

The event concluded with a terrific play highlighting the importance of community organizing and mobilizations in the recent stripping of Arizona’s Sheriff Arpaio’s 287g powers and Spoken Word by Miriam Perez.

The key to achieving our larger goals will come from the persistence to act on our dreams and alliances with other working people and oppressed groups to achieve social and economic equality.

This post is also available in: Spanish