State Republican legislators SB 533/AB 723 bill prohibits municipal governments from issuing ID’s to undocumented immigrants, but doesn’t prohibit Wisconsin cities from enacting an ID program for local residents.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
April 26, 2016
Milwaukee, WI – On Tuesday, Voces de la Frontera (VDLF), an immigrant and worker rights organization and multiple groups announced during a press conference that they will lobby for the City of Milwaukee to create an identification card program for local residents. On Monday, Governor Scott Walker (R) signed SB 533/AB 723 into law regulating municipal ID’s and prohibited county governments from issuing ID’s to undocumented immigrants. SB 533/AB 723 was also co-sponsored by State Representative Jessie Rodriguez (R-Franklin) from El Salvador who entered the U.S. illegally as an undocumented immigrant and later gained her legal status.
Rodriguez hasn’t publicly addressed her reasoning for co-sponsoring SB 533/AB 723, which is considered an anti-immigrant bill in the state. Rodriguez has been also criticized by Latinos immigration activists, the WI immigrant community and State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milw.) for sponsoring the SB 533/AB 723 bill, since she was once an illegal alien herself.
Rep. Zamarripa criticized Rep. Rodriguez by posting on Twitter, “Disappointed & disheartened that fellow Latina lawmaker & 1st gen immigrant @RepJessie co-authored anti-immigrant SB 533. @WisDems @wisgop”
in response, Rep. Rodriquez posted “@repjocasta @WisDems @wisgop #mustbecampaignseason” in her Twitter account.
VDLF in the following news release says that SB 533/AB 723 blocks counties throughout Wisconsin from using their own resources to provide local identification cards, but it doesn’t block cities like Milwaukee from creating a local ID program. The bill signed by Governor Walker stopped Milwaukee’s city-county partnership to create local ID cards, the first such partnership in the nation. The Milwaukee Common Council and the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors had passed legislation creating the Milwaukee ID overwhelmingly in October and November of last year.
VDLF and a coalition of groups will now lobby the Milwaukee Common Council to create an ID program.
According to VDLF, the We Are All Milwaukee Coalition had advocated for the creation of the cards, which would benefit vulnerable community members who struggle to obtain (or legally cannot obtain) Wisconsin State ID and Driver’s Licenses, including undocumented immigrants, transgender community members, formerly incarcerated people, seniors, and homeless people. There are at least 5,000 senior citizens within the Milwaukee area that are in need of an ID who can’t obtain a state ID or a driver’s license, according to the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans.
The coalition is made up of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, GenderQueer Milwaukee, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Milwaukee Inner City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH), Project Return, St. Ben’s Community Meal, the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, Wisconsin Jobs Now, and Voces de la Frontera.
Voces de la Frontera live video press conference https://goo.gl/Yw0mkg