Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice
For immediate release: June 2, 2011

Contact: Diane Farsetta, WNPJ Executive Director, (608) 250-9240, diane@wnpj.org

WNPJ Opposes Anti-Immigrant Bill

A bill recently introduced by Rep. Don Pridemore would allow law enforcement officials to detain someone for up to 48 hours, if officials have a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is in the United States without authorization. To avoid detention, the person must immediately show proof of her or his immigration status.

WNPJ rejects such measures as racist diversions from the real problems facing Wisconsin.  These proposals would harm our state because:

  • Immigrants are an important part of Wisconsin. Though the demographics of those migrating have changed, the importance of immigrant contributions to our state endures. Immigrants support our state economy as workers, business owners and consumers. More than 40 percent of workers in our beloved dairy industry are immigrants. Historically, Wisconsin has welcomed immigrants. We should continue to do so. 
  • Racial profiling makes us all less safe. The Pridemore bill would encourage law enforcement officials to focus on appearance rather than behavior or other actual risk factors. Additionally, anti-immigrant policies cause fear among communities of color. This deters people from reporting crimes to police, unwittingly creating an atmosphere where criminal behavior can flourish. 
  • Immigration should remain a federal issue. If every state had its own immigration policy, it would lead to widespread confusion and ineffective implementation of any policy. If we’re unhappy with the current situation, we should push for federal immigration reform.
Only the private prison industry would benefit from the Pridemore bill, through the increase in detainees.  That's why the prison industry helped develop the anti-immigrant policy that became Arizona's infamous SB1070 -- which the Pridemore bill is based on.

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (wnpj.org), a statewide network of 165 member organizations, opposes the Pridemore bill.

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