October 23, 2021

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Wisconsin immigrants and Latinos strike for citizenship: 'No school, no work, no buying'

Wisconsin’s Voces de la Frontera Action (VDLFA) said over the weekend that more than 100 businesses across the state were shutting down Monday, Oct. 11 in solidarity with the Day Without Latinx & Immigrants movement, to both highlight the economic contributions of these communities and to continue calling on Democrats in Washington, D.C., to deliver on a pathway to citizenship. 

Among those participating: Lee Roy Ortega, an immigrant essential worker who said he was closing his business in Sheboygan to be a part of Monday’s march in Milwaukee. ”Our Democratic representatives promised—and promised my essential worker friends—a way to citizenship,” he said in a video shared by VDLFA. “Do not back down now.”

“Rain or shine, we’re not going anywhere,” VDLFA wrote in sharing a video showing strikers marching in the rain. While a few umbrellas were visible, others determinedly braved the weather in T-shirts. “Wisconsin immigrant essential workers stand firm in their demands to Democrats to deliver a pathway to citizenship as they march in #Milwaukee for a Day Without Latinx and Immigrants,” the group continued.

Rain or shine, we’re not going anywhere! Wisconsin immigrant essential workers stand firm in their demands to Democrats to deliver a pathway to citizenship as they march in #Milwaukee for a Day Without Latinx and Immigrants. #CitizenshipNow #WeAreHome pic.twitter.com/Cwmwv65pW1

— Voces de la Frontera Action (@VDLF_Action) October 11, 2021

Street vendors to big chains, the list of businesses closing for Monday’s Day w/o Latinx & Immigrants is now 130+! Wisconsin’s economic heartbeat is immigrant labor. Participating in a statewide general strike sends the message we need: Democrats, deliver #CitizenshipNow! pic.twitter.com/6gygVfqXks

— Voces de la Frontera Action (@VDLF_Action) October 10, 2021

La Carcacha Auto Repair is 1 of 130+ businesses participating in Monday’s statewide general strike – no school, no work, no buying. They’re sending the message we need: Democrats, don’t take our votes for granted. Deliver #CitizenshipNow! pic.twitter.com/Arco9sqECm

— Voces de la Frontera Action (@VDLF_Action) October 10, 2021

We need more leaders like @StateRepHong who use their positions to champion the rights of immigrants! Democrats can’t take our votes for granted, #CitizenshipNow! https://t.co/9X7ZlWWwx7

— Voces de la Frontera Action (@VDLF_Action) October 11, 2021

In announcing the strike last week, organizers urged Vice President Kamala Harris and Senate Democrats to unite to overrule the non-binding opinion of Senate staffer and parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough. While experts have said a pathway to citizenship meets criteria for inclusion in the budget reconciliation package, she has rejected numerous proposals put forward by Senate Democrats. But her advice is just that—advice. “The opinion of the Senate Parliamentarian is wrong,” immigrant business owner Blanco Cano said last week. “She was not elected. The people elected President Biden, Vice President Harris and Democrats to Congress because we want our voices heard.”

This message was resoundingly echoed on Monday, with marchers carrying a banner reading, “Democrats! Overrule the parliamentarian! Citizenship now!”

Democrats, overrule the Parliamentarian! #CitizenshipNow! pic.twitter.com/w5YC94mYmy

— Voces de la Frontera Action (@VDLF_Action) October 11, 2021

“We need you to hear our voices,” Ortega continued in his video. “Citizenship is the number one priority on my list. Sí, se puede.” In the tweet sharing the video, VDLFA wrote that “[i]mmigrants hold the economic power. Democrats hold the power to deliver on their promises.” The American Immigration Council said last year that “[a]s consumers, immigrants add billions of dollars to Wisconsin’s economy,” and paid $1.7 billion in federal taxes and nearly $970 million in state and local taxes in 2018 alone.

There was certainly a lot of talk about the vital role of essential workers, like undocumented farmworkers, during the pandemic. This is our chance to show we meant that thanks:

And for those in Chicago, don’t forget to join us tomorrow (Tuesday) to demand #Citizenship4All! #WeAreHome https://t.co/GG1TPTwc1Q

— IL Immigrant Rights (@icirr) October 11, 2021

Monday’s action is just the start to a number of events this week urging congressional Democrats to act. Up North News reported that “advocates won’t stop with one day of striking if there is still no movement on immigration reform by Oct. 31, the deadline set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) to pass Biden’s infrastructure plans.”

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