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'Day without Latinos and Immigrants' organizers plan protest against bills

Organizers hope closing businesses will illustrate potential void in community

'Day without Latinos and Immigrants' organizers plan protest against bills

MADISON, Wis. - Organizers of "A Day without Latinos and Immigrants" are calling for businesses and individuals to assemble at the state Capitol at 10 a.m. Thursday to protest against what they say are two anti-immigration bills being considered by the Legislature.

One bill would address the issuance of local ID cards by local governments to immigrants. The second bill would prohibit municipalities from creating laws restricting law enforcement officers from inquiring about the immigration status of people whom they contact.

In asking businesses to close their doors on Thursday morning, organizers are hoping to illustrate the void that would exist in the community if Latinos were not participating in the economy.

"I think that's what mainstream America has to understand, that the Latino, that the immigrant community is highly important to the contributions, and Latinos want to contribute. Latinos, all we want is one word, and that is opportunity," said Luis Montoto, programming director for La Movida, the only Spanish-language radio station in the community.

Organizers said they have commitments from local restaurants, grocery stores, tax preparation firms and other businesses to close on Thursday in support of the protest. They also expect construction, hotel, manufacturing and farm workers to attend the protest.

Madison Mexican food favorite Taqueria Guadalajara is participating. Imelda Perez, manager of the restaurant on Park Street, said the bills attack immigrants, and she believes closing the restaurant will serve as a wake-up call.

"People will come here to the door, and they ‘ll try to have lunch, and the door will be locked, and then people will realize how important we are," she said.

"A Day without Latinos and Immigrants" will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday at the State Street entrance of the state Capitol.


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