Protests held in downtown Madison over ICE arrests

MADISON, Wis. – Hundreds marched throughout Madison Wednesday night against the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

On Tuesday, ICE revealed it had made more than 2,000 arrests over a several-week span. While the arrests were meant to target illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds, the agency admitted roughly 15% of those arrested did not have a criminal history.

“They’ve been doing these things forever,” said Larissa Joanna, who organized Wednesday night’s events.  “But during a pandemic, it’s really wrong.”

Joanna says that two arrests were made in Madison during the most recent raids.

“We need to use our voices so that we can be a voice for them and fight for them and fight together,” she said. “When we get together, we definitely have more power.”

Protesters marched to East Wash as well as up and down State Street Wednesday night. Joanna says many undocumented families in Madison are essential workers, and fear if they don’t show up to work, they will not be able to pay their bills.

“We don’t have that type of money in our communities as it is,” she said. “Let alone when you’re an immigrant or undocumented as it is, you have to send money to your family in your countries.”

Joanna said the best thing people can do if they’re upset about what ICE is doing in the Madison community is contact their local representatives.

“Stay informed with what’s going on out here,” she said.  “What immigration is doing in our communities. There’s so many things going on right now but they are definitely doing that as well.”