Hundreds of people gathered at the Wisconsin State Capitol today to hear personal testimony for the “People’s Hearing” against AB190/SB 275, a bill introduced by Wisconsin Republicans that would have local law enforcement act like immigration agents and would effectively ban sanctuary cities.

Numerous speakers took turns speaking out against the bill including John Peck, who testified on the behalf of Family Farm Defenders, who have shown solidarity with Voces de la Frontera and other allies in defense of the rights of immigrants in Wisconsin. Peck testified that, “There is no place for hate in the dairy state and we must all oppose this horrible bill.”

“Here in Wisconsin, our cultural heritage and economic vitality depend upon the strength and diversity found in our immigrants,” Peck said. “Our $43 billion dairy industry could not function without 16,000-plus immigrants that are out there working along with the family farmers I know.

“So the dream of coming to this country is now very battered and tarnished, it is no surprise that some farm workers are now fleeing this country because of the fear they face on the farms,” Peck continued.

Wisconsin Republicans introduced anti-immigrant legislation similar to the bill signed into law in Texas earlier this spring. Critics of AB190/SB275 also say that it would separate Wisconsin families, increase racial profiling, harm the economy, and make everyone less safe by making community members afraid to report crimes.

“I ask folks here today who were immigrants not long ago: What would America look like today if the KKK was successful 100 years ago driving out immigrants from Germany, Poland, Italy? That is what they wanted to do. If they had been successful, what would have our state looked like today?” Peck asked. “If AB190 manages to worm its way through the Legislature, it will not only pull the rug out from under the Wisconsin dairy industry, but will also tear a huge hole in the fabric of our communities that depend so much on immigrants for their livelihood.”