MILWAUKEE -- Local refugee groups united Tuesday, February 7th as three federal judges grilled lawyers from the Justice Department and Washington state -- as they determine whether to lift a nationwide halt against President Donald Trump's travel ban against citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on Tuesday night assured people that in Milwaukee, immigrants will be safe. City leaders took a major stand against President Trump's executive order on immigration, and immigrants and refugees were able to share their stories.
"I am a refugee from Honduras," Raul Ortiz said.
Eight-year-old Ortiz received a standing ovation after he shared his story of coming to America, and he wasn't the only one.
A Syrian refugee wishing to remain hidden said he hopes others get the same chance he did.
"He just hopes they'll have the opportunity to come to America and be greeted with open arms like he was," a translator said on behalf of the refugee.
The event, called "Milwaukee Gathers in Unity for Human Dignity" drew dozens of people eager to take on President Trump's executive order on immigration. Milwaukee leaders spoke out and took action. Mayor Barrett signed a resolution against President Trump's executive order, approved by 13 of 15 Milwaukee aldermen earlier Tuesday. The resolution was authored by Alderman Jose Perez.
"I'm proud to sign this with the help of people who love this nation," Barrett said.
Alderman Bob Donovan voted against the measure.
"We want to be a welcoming country, but we also have an obligation to ensure the safety in this very dangerous world. The safety of all of our citizens," Donovan said.
Alderman Perez issued the following statement after his resolution was approved Tuesday:
I want to thank my Common Council colleagues for their overwhelming support today in approving my resolution for immediate adoption -- Resolution expressing the City of Milwaukee’s opposition to Presidential Executive Order 13769: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.
According to the Legislative Reference Bureau, Milwaukee could be the first city in the U.S. to officially declare its opposition to the travel ban.
The 13-2 vote to approve the resolution shows that while we may disagree on some issues, as a Council we are strongly united in our firm belief that the travel ban order is wrong, divisive, and that it is not based on facts but instead plays on our worst fears and paranoia.
I especially want to thank my partnering co-sponsors – Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis – and the colleagues who have also joined on today as additional sponsors: Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderman Nik Kovac, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Cavalier Johnson, Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, Alderman Jim Bohl, and Alderman Tony Zielinski.
There were at least a dozen groups and organizations behind the event Tuesday evening.