Latinos make their voices heard

Immigration rally at State Captiol

Juan Olvera of Sheboygan joined thousands of others on Capitol Square on Thursday in the “Day Without Latinos” rally in Madison. He held a homemade sign with the words: “Wisconsin is Not Arizona” and “Latinos Unidos.”

“All we want to do is be here to work,” says Olvera, who is originally from Mexico and has lived in Wisconsin for the past 20 years. “We’re not doing anything but work to raise our kids [and] raise our families in a proper home.”

The rally was organized to draw attention to two proposed bills in the state Legislature that are perceived by Olvera and others to be anti-immigrant.

Assembly bill 450 would allow local governments to be fined if they adopt policies to prevent police from asking people about their immigration status. It passed the Assembly on Tuesday and moves on to the Senate.

Senate bill 533 blocks local control of identification cards. That bill passed both chambers of the Legislature and has been sent to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.

Weeks earlier, at a meeting with the WISC-TV editorial board, Karen Menendez Collar, executive director of Centro Hispano said the two bills have received little coverage in the media about how the passage of these two bills would impact not only the Latino population but also the economy across the state.

The crowd made their voices loud and clear on Thursday. A constant refrain that rang out from the estimated 20,000 who gathered: “Si se puede!”