Wisconsin state representative Don Pridemore (R-Hartford) is expected to soon introduce an Arizona-style bill that will require local law enforcement to confirm the immigration status of anyone arrested or charged with a crime in the state.
If the person can not prove legal status within 48 hours (during which time they may be held in secure custody), they will then be turned over to federal immigration authorities, at which time deportation proceedings may begin.
Pridemore has made a flimsy case that “law enforcement, crime, taxes and social benefits” were ostensible reasons for the bill.
While the bill claims to be against racial profiling, law enforcement will clearly be forced to rely on it in determining who they will hold for proof of legal residency.
More probable is that state Republicans, emboldened by Governor Scott Walker's vicious attack recently on the rights of pubic workers in Wisconsin, hope to distract from Wisconsin’s lagging economy and high unemployment by creating a narrative of fear and spurious debate about immigrant workers who already contribute tremendously to Wisconsin's labor force.
Anti-immigrant politicians like Pridemore have used questionable facts and falsehoods to demonize immigrants for too long. It’s time to set the record straight on ineffective, knee-jerk immigration bills.
Tell Representative Pridemore that Wisconsin families and local businesses will not tolerate these attempts to scapegoat immigrants and workers and separate families!
Wisconsin is no place for the nativist antics or the controversy we saw last year in Arizona. Your proposed bill will do nothing to improve the safety, economy or fiscal solvency of the state or its citizens. Instead, it will create a divisive debate that will only distract from the real economic and social issues facing Wisconsin residents.
I am sure you are aware that in 2005, Rep. James Sensenbrenner sponsored H.R. 4437, an equally discriminatory, unconstitutional bill that wasted taxpayers' and legislators' time.
Save Wisconsin the embarrassment and the financial burden, and drop your plans to needlessly criminalize the state's immigrants.