Wisconsin senate talks new immigration bill

The interior of the Wisconsin State Senate. Senate Bill 275 was introduced here on May 25. Photograph taken by Dori (dori@merr.info).

JESSICA DIAZ | diaz0034@rangers.uwp.eduSenate Bill 275 was introduced by Senator Nass (R-Whitewater), Stroebel (R-Saukville), Craig (R- Town of Vernon) and Vukmir (R-Brookfield) on May 25, 2017. Senate Bill 275 prohibits cities, villages, towns and counties from enacting policies that protect undocumented immigrants. Furthermore, the bill would require that local law enforcement cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Under the proposal, those in violation can face fines between $500.00 to $5,000.00 for each day.

There was a public hearing regarding this bill on Oct. 12 and Representative Nass indicated that this bill was aimed at “criminals”. Unfortunately, in some instances undocumented immigrants are often labeled as “criminals.” There was a crowd of about 500 people, and the majority opposed the bill.

On Nov. 3, the bill was referred to the Committee on Labor and Regulatory Reform and Senators Nass, Wanggaard and Lasee voted for the bill to move forward and it will now go to the assembly.

There are several problems with Bill 275. For one, the bill is too open ended, and this can lead to negative repercussions. Additionally, the bill can increase racial profiling. It can cause immigrants without documents to become more vulnerable, and if they are victims of crimes, they will be afraid to report the crimes. If this bill were to pass and be signed into law, Wisconsin would meet the criteria to be considered “hostile” towards immigrants.

We must stop and look around us. We are all immigrants, and we live in a nation of opportunities. There is a need to be more inclusive and civil with others. It is time to tell our state representatives that Wisconsin does not want this type of legislation. We need to let them know that there is no room for hate, fear and separation in Wisconsin. I urge you to call your representatives in the Assembly and tell them to vote against Bill 275.

Jessica Diaz is a senior majoring in political science and is the President of PSG.

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