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Immigration and Refugee Rally Draws Thousands in Milwaukee

Micaela Martin
Thousands of people showed up to march and rally against President Trumps immigration policies and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke

What seemed like thousands upon thousands of people showed up at the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Monday. They rallied against immigration policies that President Donald Trump has tried to enact, and that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke could opt to enforce. It was one of 11 such rallies held across the state.

Immigrants, refugees and their supporters protested not only the Trump administration immigration ban that’s currently on hold, but also 287 (g). It’s a homeland security statue that gives local law enforcement the powers of ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The fear among the demonstrators is that Milwaukee Sheriff Clarke will enroll in the program. Jeannette Diaz says it’s sad how immigrants are now being treated in her adopted home. She says she’s originally from El Salvador but has been here for nearly nine years.

“For me, it’s very important to support all the people who don’t have a choice. They don’t have a choice because their countries are messed up. Our countries are violent, poor and we are trying to get better. We are trying here to work, to be together,” Diaz says.

Diaz says the rally is about unity, and letting people who want to scare immigrants and refugees know that they are not leaving.

“We’re not giving up, we’re going to fight for this,” Diaz says.

When it comes to people who want the government to put more restrictive policies into place, Diaz she says imagine if it were you or your family. She says that while she’s always been a person willing to speak up, she feels even more empowered now.

“I’m this kind of person, I’m not afraid to speak to the people and ask for help or say you can do it, we’re going to do it, you know? So I'm always in this, so my different part maybe can say I can inspire more people to be a U.S. citizen like I did,” Diaz says.

Diaz says she knows a lot of people who have lived here for a long time but have not yet taken the steps to become citizens.

She says many feel as if they would be betraying their home country.

One man, who took part in the rally but didn’t want to give his name, brought his seven-year-old daughter. He says what he’s told her is simple.

“One person wants to take these families away from the kids that were born here, just because he got power and this and that. It’s not right.”

The man went on to say that one thing for him has changed, since Trump took office.

“I start thinking more for…not to be that nice with white people. They’re racist.”

He says he means that often, people with money are insensitive to poor people and immigrants, and it upsets him.

LaToya was a reporter with WUWM from 2006 to 2021.
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