MILWAUKEE — Hundreds marched three miles Monday from Milwaukee’s south side to the downtown federal courthouse, chanting messages aimed at President Joe Biden’s lack of action on immigration reform.
The protest was part of a statewide strike in Wisconsin, a “Day Without Latinx and Immigrants,” organized by Voces de la Frontera.
“They have the power. They have the votes,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz shouted into a megaphone atop the courthouse steps.
The Voces de la Frontera executive director said Biden and Democrats in Congress are in power largely thanks to Hispanic voters believing their campaign promises to enact paths to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
The one-day strike intends to show the vital role immigrants and Latinx play in the American economy. Farm workers and other essential employees were encouraged to stay home and avoid shopping. So were students, like Marquette junior Nadxely Sanchez.
“Our community gets attacked every day,” Sanchez said. “So it’s just nice to know we have that sense of community that we drastically need right now.”
Sanchez, 20, canvassed last fall on behalf of Biden, and said many Mexican-American voters like herself chose the Democrat because of his promises to undocumented immigrants. She said she has several family members who believed Biden would finally carve a path for them to become citizens.
“They’ve been hoping for something to happen, something to be changed,” she said. “No matter the administration, it’s always the same thing.”
In September, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled Democrats could not include a path to citizenship in their budget bill. Neumann-Ortiz and other speakers Monday said Biden and Democrats could overrule the parliamentarian, but are choosing not to do so. Signs and speeches at the march warned Democrats not to take their voters for granted.
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