Day Without Latinos Protest Brings Thousands...

Posted at 5:31 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 18:31:57-05

MADISON, Wis.- Tens of thousands of Latino workers gathering in Madison Thursday as they close their businesses and unite at the State Capitol to show the importance of Spanish workers in Wisconsin.  They're protesting two Republican backed bills that Latinos say is a direct attack on them.

"We stand together as one and fight for our rights and ask that they don't  sign this bill so we can continue to live free," said Alicia Navarete who's one of the many protesters.

Demonstrators like Nora Diaz who's originally from Mexico say if these bills pass it would mean living in fear fro many Latinos.

"It would be a constant threat," said Diaz.


However Republican representative Joe Sanfelippo, who introduced one of the bills says there's nothing really being changed.


"If you're a law abiding, honest citizen, who needs to call the police for something you have absolutely nothing to worry about," said Rep. Sanfelippo.


Bill 450 allows law enforcement to investigate someone's background, possibly leading to deportation, but Sanfelippo says that's only if you commit a felony.  Bill 533 prevents cities and counties from issuing their own ID cards.  Critics of the bill say that makes it harder for immigrants to find jobs.



"That barrier already is there because Federal Law requires you to furnish certain documentation in order for you to get a job in this country," said Rep. Sanfelippo.


Despite what Republicans say, Diaz along with thousands of others say they hope their voices are heard.


"We hope that they can see the support from the people of Wisconsin," said Diaz.


BIll 533 has already passed the Assembly and Senate and it's on its way to Governor Walker's desk.  Bill 450 has also passed the Assembly, but still needs to be voted on in the Senate.  That vote could come as early as next month.