“Si se puede!” Massive crowd rallies at Capitol in Madison against “anti-immigrant” bills

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MADISON— Thousands of Latinos and immigrants from around the state demonstrated outside the Capitol in Madison Thursday, February 18th in an effort to put a stop to legislation they say targets immigrants. The event was called "A Day Without Latinos," and 20,000 people walked off the job and out of class to take part.

The demonstrators chanted and held signs on the square outside the Capitol Thursday morning, amid temperatures below freezing.

One sign read "All We Want is Equity."

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

The groups oppose an Assembly bill that they say would lead police to investigate a person's immigration status and detain people for deportation. They say a proposed Senate bill would block counties from issuing local identification cards to people who don't have access to a state ID.

Roads leading to the Capitol were heavy with traffic and Mexican flags dotted the crowd. Inside the Capitol, hundreds of people packed the Capitol Rotunda and surrounding floors as the Assembly session began, banging on cymbals and chanting "si se puede," or "yes we can."

"This sends a strong message of the deep, deep opposition to these anti-Latino, anti-immigration bills," said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the executive director of Voces de la Frontera.

From the Assembly chamber's windows, lawmakers could see and hear the thousands outside.

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

"I don't think they know what it's like to be in our position. They're born with these rights," said Monica Gonzalez.

Gonzalez immigrated from Mexico when she was 11.

Republicans said she and the others don't know what they're protesting.

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

"Unfortunately they're being told a lot of misinformation and on purpose to gin up a bunch of ire," Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) said.

The Assembly passed two bills this week. One that restricts how cities issue identification cards to people, including those in the country illegally -- making it clear they can't use them to vote or get state benefits.

The other would fine so-called "sanctuary cities" that stop their police from questioning people charged with a crime about their immigration status.

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

While the I.D. bill is already on Governor Walker's desk, the "sanctuary cities" bill awaits a vote in the Senate.

Republicans defended the bills over the din of the protests.

"It doesn't talk about law enforcement going to a field, stopping people driving, stopping people on the road, or anything else. That's not in this bill," Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) said.

Meanwhile, these thousands of protesters said they hope they were able to make a difference.

And maybe they did.

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's spokesman said Fitzgerald hadn't heard from any senator that the "sanctuary cities" bill is a top priority right now.

Senators are planning to come back into session sometime in March. Assembly leaders said Thursday was their last day for the year.

Governor Scott Walker responded to Thursday's demonstration -- saying protests at the Capitol are nothing new. He said there are protests there every day.

Walker said he thinks Latinos in the state are fighting for what everyone wants in Wisconsin.

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

"They want elected officials that are focused on improving the economy, improving education, improving opportunities for people in this state. I think a lot of the talk about other issues is a distraction from that and we are going to stay focused on helping people get the education and skills they need to succeed in life," Governor Walker said.

"A Day Without Latinos"

"A Day Without Latinos"

63 comments

    • Honest

      Why exactly do you think you should get benefits afforded to American citizens when you are not an American Citizen. If you would like to reap the benefits of the United States of America then become and American Citizen. Plain and Simple…. and most illegal immigrants are paid in cash, so no you do not pay the same taxes that citizens pay.

    • Opinion8d

      While sales tax is a tax, without a SSN, you’re not paying Federal or State Income taxes, medicare taxes and yet are benefiting from many of the services that those tax dollars support.

    • Chris Abele's AA sponsor

      What about state and federal income tax, social security and Medicare there Sara? Forget about those?? Government didn’t yet you want to get the benefits and privileges that come with them without contributing? I don’t think so.

  • sara

    If only you knew how hard it is for poor Mexicans without land and money in Mexico to actually get a visa to come to the U.S.A we work in companies getting paid minimum wage doing jobs that you American Citizens don’t want to do we pay taxes, and without us you wouldn’t have the fruits and vegetables and meat that you have on the table. yes i agree that criminals should be taken out of the streets and that the border should maximize their security but at the same time to leave those who are trying to support their families and their communities without us America would fall most of the workers in manufacturing plants are illegal immigrants if we leave there would be a lack of workers. The job would not get done in time….but its people like you who are misinformed and go by the lack of information the media and other uneducated folks say put yourself in these peoples shoes for a day.. you wouldn’t last!

    • Merl

      I think the fact that they are waving Mexican flags says a lot. They do not want to become U.S. Americans, they want to stay Mexicans but be afforded all the rights of U.S. citizens. I know things are bad in Mexico right now, but instead of coming up here to tell us how we should be treating people, how about staying and telling your own government?

    • Opinion8d

      I feel for a lot them. Many are hard working people with strong faith and family values. The problem I have is as MERL explained -quit with the Mexican nationalism and wanting to make the US into Mexico. Learn English. As far as what would happen if all the illegals left is basic economic principles. If an employer can’t fill the job, they raise the pay until someone does….the price for that good goes up as well. And before you take too much credit (some is deserved), imagine what Mexico would do with 11million more people -would they welcome you with open arms and provide the same services, protections and benefits that you get here?

  • Just a Thought

    How about instead of waving Mexican Flags, you wave American Flags and learn to speak English. That is our national language isn’t it?

    • Libsareliars

      Funny Ricardo when my ancestors came to this country from Germany 135 years ago they were required to learn and speak English. So now it is ok for the people coming into this country not to learn English? Are you arrogant or just plain stupid?

    • Opinion8d

      And you’re probably a liberal too!! Next you’ll be teaching that it’s a micro-aggression if we speak English and make those who don’t speak it feel bad. Being a citizen means assimilating to the culture -which means respecting the values, culture, and language of the country. Not coming to the country and making it mini-Mexico.

  • Mike USA Wro

    Really, NOW if a group of all white people , protested in Madison for special privileges’ and exemption to US laws THEY WOULD BE CALLED THE KU KLUX KLAN and ignored, belittled and attacked by minority groups. BUT because these people are breaking US IMMIGRATION LAW, and using untold amounts of US TAXPAYER subsidized services but are of Hispanic decent and promise to vote democrat if we IGNORE LONGSTANDING US LAW then it is OK???? This is BS, WE HAVE AN IMMIGRATION law that is easy to follow, GO BACK ON THE RIGHTS IDE OF THE BORDER AND FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK !!!! You don’t have to answer any algebra or chemistry problems and you can come in legally and work as hard as you want to better yourself with out being a burden to US TAXPAYERS. !!! If there was a group of militant white racists they would be scorned and called the Klan or Nazi, but if you are Hispanic and call yourself LA RAZA your racism is endorsed and subsidized. THIS IS THE TYPE OF SH*T that will cause the downfall of this country. Then where you gonna go for a better life Cuba or Iraq ???

    • Sue

      True, very true! This is our Liberal media sprewing lies to the people and causing all these issues! In my opinion, you want to wave your Mexican flag, then go back to your wonderful country and get off of our soil with your free-loading ass!!

  • chris

    Come on INS, round them up. Since its Madison I’m guessing 200 are Mexican and 1500 are hippie libtards filling the rotunda.

  • unicorns and rainbows

    Faux 6 political “reporter” Theo Keith must living the dream this week! First his twin brother Chris Larson gets a chance in the county executive general election and now he is surrounded by his like minded liberal hate America type in the people’s republic of madison.

    • Openyourmind

      “Liberal hate America types”? The only candidates and their followers that I see and hear advocating for hate and intolerance and legislators passing laws to take away people’s rights are Republicans. It seems you are more interested in name calling and dividing than you are in having a conversation and some humanity.

      • Opinion8d

        See my comments above to @Ignoranceisbliss

        Hate is what is spewed by the liberals. Worry about protecting Americans first!!! This isn’t about immigration, it’s about Illegal Immigration. People come to the US everyday – and those that do it legally are welcome!

      • Just a Thought

        Openyoumind:
        Go back to your Madison apartment & fire up the Bong. After about 10 minutes, everything will look beter

    • Mark

      If Chris Larson wins county general election I bet ….Theo Keith will leave FOX6 and join Larsons “TEAM”………….

      • Just a Thought

        Natasha:
        We Republicans studied hard in school & have very well paying jobs. It’s your turn to fill the Urinals with ice & scrub the Toilets.

    • Natasha

      Well it just turns out that I myself make a very good living! I am an educated US Citizen also! She that is the problem with idiots like you. I assume that because I am Latino and stand up for Latino people, that I am some filthy uneducated piece of crap. You can have all the education in the world but your mother still raised an ass. She should be ashamed of the type of human filth she raised. We all have blood running through our veins. We are all human being. You are better than no one. I am better than no one. Don’t go walking around feeling like you are better because you are in for a cruel reality. We all die someday and turn into bones and dust. We ALL do! You will not die an become sugar n spice and everything nice hunny! Stop pointing fingers and try to help others instead.

  • Michael Dufern

    Only immigrants here illegally will be effected by the new legislation. Legal residents have nothing to be concerned about.

    • Natasha

      Wrong! I was born a US citizen! My husband was not! So if I would lose him so would our son! Which by the way is also a US citizen. How would that not affect me as a legal? We both work and arent on any type of government assistance. My income by itself is considered middle class. So how does our family, which includes an undocumented man, who wakes up at 3am everyday to go to work and provide for us, how does that hurt people like you!?

      • Just a Thought

        Natasha:
        It’s called becoming a naturalize Citizen. Have your husband try it. That’s what my Great Grand Parents did when they came to this Country. Also, It’s ridiculous that every thing needs to be printed in English & Spanish. Last time I checked our language is ENGLISH!!

      • Jen

        Natasha I agree with you completely! People act as if all undocumented people sit on their butts all day doing nothing. NO they don’t. These people act as if being a U.S citizen makes them better than everyone else. People commenting idiotic ignorant comments referring to “speaking english” and whatever else. IT IS A PRIVILEGE to have been born here, so quit acting like it was your God given right to be documented here. Check your research people, most people receiving government help, are “Americans” so stop saying Mexicans are taking all your precious money.

    • Natasha

      Read!! People read! I even typed it in English! The question was not answered. How are you affected? Please tell me because I am really worried about how this affects you. I need to know. If not I won’t be able to eat or sleep in peace.

  • Itsabouttime

    Totally agree with all of your comments Mike USA WRO. How about us Americans ban ourselves from going to Mexico for instance a vacation. I went there in 2007 and 2011 and I will never go back not interested especially with the increase in drugs and crime.

  • Mike Johnson

    if all you mexicans are so proud of your heritage go back to mexico no one is stopping you. to be honest most of us encourage it. if you dont like the laws and rules and taxes in america go now and dont let the door hit you in the rear. adios amigo

  • Opinion8d

    Rrrriiiigggghhhhhttttt, and you can thank some slave labor kid half way around the world for your electronics, phones, shoes, etc. Why don’t we just invite the world in? Oh, that’s right, America is bad and shouldn’t espouse their way of life on others……no nation building……what??!!?! Yet, people from every poor country wants to come here! Interesting isn’t it? Try it on the micro level and leave your front door open to anyone that wants to come in your own home. Let me know about all the ‘good’ you’re doing and ‘enlightenment’ you’ve gained by allowing anyone into your home that’s wants to enjoy your prosperity…..

  • Amarie

    Is there any other country in the world that you can just march into illegally and even get a job much less demanding “equality” try waltzing into mexico with no visa or Canada for that matter, let me know how that works out for you.

  • unreal

    “The groups oppose an Assembly bill that they say would lead police to investigate a person’s immigration status and detain people for deportation.”

    Translation: if you are against this YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE! SALES tax is not INCOME TAX!

    • mikey jr

      Dont hate dont hate. U all going to hell. Nd to the white nd black friends that got our backs i wanted to say thank u so much. I hope. GOD helps u all on ur dayly job nd on watever u need he wont say no to all of u……….

  • Mark Robles

    Funny how these Mexican illegals march and protest here for benefits they are not entitled to instead of marching and protesting in Mexico!! They whine that Americans are racist if they are for deporting ILLEGAL ALIENS but conveniently turn a blind eye to the fact that Mexico has deported thousands of “illegal” Central American immigrants out of Mexico!! http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/06/19/report-mexico-deports-more-central-american-illegal-immigrants-united-states . What a bunch of hypocrites!! Bottom line if you crossed the border illegally, you broke the law!! Don’t be cowards by running to the United States to get away from your problems in Mexico. Go back and fix them, The United States does not owe you anything!!! Fight for your rights…… in Mexico!!!

    • Time to change!

      I hear people talkin’ bad,
      About the way we have to live here in this country,
      Harpin’ on the wars we fight,
      An’ gripin’ ’bout the way things oughta be.
      An’ I don’t mind ’em switchin’ sides,
      An’ standin’ up for things they believe in.
      When they’re runnin’ down my country, man,
      They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

      Yeah, walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.
      Runnin’ down the way of life,
      Our fightin’ men have fought and died to keep.
      If you don’t love it, leave it:
      Let this song I’m singin’ be a warnin’.
      If you’re runnin’ down my country, man,
      You’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

      I read about some squirrely guy,
      Who claims, he just don’t believe in fightin’.
      An’ I wonder just how long,
      The rest of us can count on bein’ free.
      They love our milk an’ honey,
      But they preach about some other way of livin’.
      When they’re runnin’ down my country, hoss,
      They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

      Yeah, walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.
      Runnin’ down the way of life,
      Our fightin’ men have fought and died to keep.
      If you don’t love it, leave it:
      Let this song I’m singin’ be a warnin’.
      If you’re runnin’ down my country, man,
      You’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

      Yeah, walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.
      Runnin’ down the way of life,
      Our fightin’ men have fought and died to keep.
      If you don’t love it, leave it:
      Let this song I’m singin’ be a warnin’.
      If you’re runnin’ down my country, man,
      You’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

  • Staticphear

    They should make the REAL ID compliant driver license mandatory. That would make it so everyone carry’s proof of Citizenship, regardless of skin color since it requires Birth certificate or legal status to get along with social security card and a few other things.

Comments are closed.