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#DayWithoutLatinx: Hundreds take to the streets in Milwaukee to demand action on immigration

"If immigration reform is passed, we wouldn't have to live with fear anymore."
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Posted at 5:21 PM, Oct 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-11 21:00:17-04

MILWAUKEE — If you were driving near Mitchell Street all the way to the federal courthouse Monday morning, you may have seen hundreds of people marching for a pathway to citizenship.

It's called "Day without Latinx," an annual event when students walk out of class and businesses close in order to demonstrate the importance of Hispanic and Latino people to the community.

According to the latest 2020 Census data report, the Hispanic Latino population rose by 7.6% in the last decade to more than 447,290 people, making Latinx the largest minority group in the state.

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Voces De La Frontera Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz told us the Latinx community is tired of what she calls lip service, so they are striking.

"They need to value our contributions as workers, as small business owners and consumers," Neumann-Ortiz said. "They need to value our lives."

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Businesses closed their doors and students like Katherine Villaneuva walked out of school.

Although Villaneuva was born in the United States, she joined the march for her family.

She still lives in fear that her parents will be sent back to Mexico, and she said there's only one way for her family to have a stable life.

"If immigration reform is passed, we wouldn't have to live with fear anymore," Villaneuva said. "We need to have an economic impact so this government sees our humanity and sees our contributions and does their job and passes citizenship," Neumann-Ortiz added.

Raul Varela owns several businesses in Milwaukee, one of which is Fiesta Salon and Spa. He closed his doors Monday, losing out on more than $700. He said closing shop for a day is nothing compared to what the Latinx community deals with on a daily bases.

"I'm not concerned about money," Varela stated.

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