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Esparanza Unida to Explore Immigration Reform with Sen. Johnson


The future of immigration reform efforts in Congress remains in question two days after House Speaker John Boehner held a closed door meeting with leading Republicans.

Republicans came away from the meeting with little consensus as to their response to the Senate version that passed earlier this year.

With that as the backdrop, members of the Milwaukee group Esperanza Unida will address immigration reform questions with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson at a forum this evening.

Manny Perez is the General Manager of Esperanza Unida, a nonprofit organization that works with Latino workers in Wisconsin.  Perez will be representing the organization tonight when talking with Senator Johnson.

Although the organization has no particular stance politically on the issue of immigration reform, they are focused on helping Latino workers when it comes to industry, domestic and foreign economics, and social development.

Perez, who stressed he was speak as an individual, says there are three parts to the immigration reform that politicians need to focus on:

  1. Why are people coming to America to look for work? What is bringing them here?
  2. Security at the border and for immigrant workers who are coming over.
  3. Domestic issues dealing with labor.

Perez says employers and workers have both broken the law; employers are hiring people who cannot work legally and workers are not coming with proper documentation. He suggests that the government, employer and worker should negotiate a solution to pay for breaking the law but to also get on the path of citizenship.
The worker also should agree to go through an assimilation process by learning English, learning the laws, and taking citizenship tests.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson will speak about immigration reform issues at the Milwaukee Latino organization’s first event in a legislative speakers series this evening at the group’s headquarters on West National.

Esparanza Unida's General Manager Manny Perez talks about re-establishing the organization after a few troubled years.