This Sunday, a delegation of nine essential workers will begin a 90-mile, nine-day march from Milwaukee to Madison demanding a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The marchers, who are part of a statewide essential worker network, will be representing Wisconsin in a national campaign for a pathway to citizenship called We Are Home.
“Immigrant essential workers have been at the front lines during this pandemic- caring for others, feeding others…. They’ve made tremendous sacrifices. This is the year that Democrats must deliver on immigration reform,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of immigrant rights organization Voces de La Frontera. At a virtual press conference Thursday, she and other speakers called on democratic legislators to include a pathway to citizenship in the President’s infrastructure and economic recovery plans. She called the march historic.
Voces volunteer Karina Sanchez, who’s originally from Zacatecas, México, says her community used its political power to vote President Biden in, and they can vote him out.
“We have to let president Biden know that we won’t stop fighting until he does right by the 11 million undocumented people living here. We are coming out of the shadows because our community is tired of living in fear,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said Latinos experienced compounding burdens during the pandemic. “So many families have faced obstacles and have been put at needless risk due to the single focus on [immigration] status,” she said. Another demand of the march is driver’s licenses for undocumented families,which Gov Tony Evers proposed in his budget. The Republican controlled joint finance committee scrapped the proposal along with 400 other measures, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Eduardo Perea Hernandez Jr. is marching for his father. He still visits construction projects he’s worked on with his father.
“He has literally helped build this city and state,” Hernandez Jr. said.
His is a mixed status family, and he wants basic human rights for his parents, including health care and the opportunity to retire and see loved ones in México.
There will be an opening rally with entertainment outside of the Voces Milwaukee office on Father’s day and a grand finale at the Capitol Building on the 28th. More information about the essential worker march and how to contribute can be found on the Voces de La Frontera Facebook page.