Latinos rally against immigration bills

LIVE: Rally against immigration bills at Capitol
LIVE: Rally against immigration bills at Capitol
Posted at 10:01 AM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 23:24:56-05

MADISON -- The Day Without Latinos was a peaceful protest at the state Capitol, with no arrests, according to Capitol police.  

Latinos are hopeful that their voices were heard.  The overall feeling out there was one of fear. Demonstrators told us they're afraid of what two pieces of legislation could do to them and to their loved ones.

With a crowd estimated between 14,000-20,000, Latinos were hoping lawmakers heard their cries at the state Capitol Thursday.  They walked off their jobs and stayed home from school to be there.

"People will notice that a lot of places are not gonna have customers and schools are not gonna have students and so that’s the point, so they can see how important we are in this country," said Marianna Sierra from Milwaukee.

They're hoping to stop what they call Wisconsin's anti-immigration legislation.  The first prohibits towns and counties from issuing photo I.D. cards where state I.D. cards are required.  It also requires local cards to state on them that they're not to be used for voting purposes.  That's making its way to Governor Walker's desk.

“We’re all human beings, we’re all persons, so I don’t know what’s wrong with Walker, something’s wrong with him," said Juan Sanchez of Milwaukee.

“How is this affecting your family? Well they’re scared if something like this were to happen. Nobody can get a license," said Ana Abarca of Madison.

Not true, says the bill's sponsor.  It has nothing to do with driver's licenses.

“Telling people that if you have this card you can use it to get a library card, get a job, open a bank account, get prescriptions, none of that is true," said State Rep. Joe Sanfelippo.

The other bill raising fear is one which checks the immigration status of those being detained by police. Some question if they could be deported after a traffic stop.

“It would be terrible for everybody you know, I mean we wouldn’t be able to drive. We’d be scared. We’d have to have fear of driving you know," said Jose Camacho of Watertown.

Also not true says State Rep. Sanfelippo.  Instead, it allows for a 48 hour hold after an arrest for a serious crime, not a simple traffic stop. It then puts those names in a database which would look for warrants and other things like immigration status.

Demonstrators marched around the capitol, as well as in in the rotunda.  Capitol police say they made no arrests at Thursday's rally.