Latino Activists Fight Wisconsin’s Anti-Immigration Bills

The two proposed laws aim to invalidate sanctuary cities and local IDs within the state.

Last week's “Day Without Latinos” protest against the two immigration bills. Photo via Flickr user Joe Brusky/MTEA.

Given the immigration-related mudslinging of the presidential primaries, one might think state anti-immigration bills would be landing heavily on the mass media’s national radar. But with the primary races and the fight over U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's replacement dominating political headlines, Wisconsin's Republican-led anti-immigration bills have been getting very little serious media coverage or analysis.

One group, however, is working to keep these reactionary efforts in the news—the Wisconsin chapter of Voces de la Frontera. A Latino immigrant and social justice newspaper and activist group working out of Milwaukee and Racine offices, Voces de la Frontera has organized several “Day Without Latinos” rallies and “Voto Latino” campaigns. Their most recent “Day Without Latinos” rally, held last week, brought out 20,000 protesters and was aimed squarely at Wisconsin’s Assembly Bill 450 and Senate Bill 533.

Because the Wisconsin GOP controls the state government’s legislative and executive branches, rendering the Democrats virtually powerless, Voces de la Frontera’s activism has been particularly vital in the fight against the two anti-immigration bills.

Photo via Flickr user Joe Brusky/MTEA

SB 533, which is now headed to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s desk for his signature, would block city and county elected officials from issuing photo IDs to undocumented people or those who the lack documents to obtain a state ID. Local IDs could be issued, but they would have to say “Not for Voting” on them, and could not be used in applying for social benefits like food stamps. As the One Wisconsin Now advocacy group said in a statement on their site, this bill could negatively impact “immigrants, transgender people, the homeless, formerly incarcerated people, seniors, foster youth, and other marginalized communities.”

“For the first time, the state is dictating to counties what they can and cannot do with their own resources, regardless of the needs of the local community,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, founder and executive director of Voces de la Frontera, tells GOOD regarding SB 533. “The bill is a bigoted attack on immigrants, transgender people, the homeless, seniors, formerly incarcerated people, and the thousands of low-income people in Milwaukee and throughout the state who cannot access a Wisconsin state ID.”

Photo via Flickr user Joe Brusky/MTEA

The second proposed law, AB 450, the so-called “Anti-Sanctuary Cities” bill now stalled in the state Senate, would fine local governments for prohibiting law enforcement from asking criminals about their immigration status. It would also fine municipalities for failing to report to or cooperate with federal immigration authorities. The bill authorizes the attorney general or the appropriate district attorney or sheriff to force local compliance in a circuit court, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Neumann-Ortiz says AB 450 would promote racial profiling. “[It] encourages police to investigate people’s immigration status and turn undocumented people over to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement],” she says. “The bill would make undocumented victims of crime, domestic violence survivors, and their loved ones afraid to contact the police. We are all less safe when thousands of community members are afraid to report crimes. We need to advance policies that build trust between communities of color and the police.”

Even Governor Walker, a Republican, said last week that the Senate should not pass AB 450, but instead concentrate on improving the state’s economy. Neumann-Ortiz believes that Walker’s latest statements on AB 450 show that pressure from all over Wisconsin is working. The support of the state’s dairy farmers, whose employees are more than 40 percent immigrants, has helped in applying this pressure. Neumann-Ortiz says Voces de la Frontera is urging employers, workers, students, and their families to sign an online petition asking Governor Walker and other lawmakers to oppose the enactment of SB 533 and the passage in the Senate of AB 450.

Photo via Flickr user Joe Brusky/MTEA

“Somewhat ironically, just this week Arizona’s state legislature voted down bills similar to Wisconsin’s so-called anti-sanctuary city bill and the bill blocking local ID card programs,” Neumann-Ortiz says. “‘Wisconsin Is Not Arizona’ has become a rallying call in farms, cities, and towns throughout Wisconsin in reference to Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant SB 1070 law that ignited a national boycott of the state. It would be a disgrace if Wisconsin passed such laws after [even] Arizona voted them down.”

“If Governor Walker does not want Wisconsin to become known as an intolerant, xenophobic state whose government policies separate families and hurt the state’s economy,” Neumann-Ortiz adds, “he needs to commit to veto the anti-local ID bill SB 533 and commit to veto AB 450 if it were to reach his desk.”

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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