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Protect Immigrant Families

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Immigrants come to the United States in search of a better life, to build a stronger future, and to achieve their dreams. Immigrants also bring significant contributions to Wisconsin’s schools, communities, and economy—contributions that are enhanced when immigrants have full access to opportunity. Most immigrants in Wisconsin are people of color, so protecting immigrant families requires Wisconsin lawmakers to stand up for racial justice. 

Candidates running for public office in Wisconsin should be clear on where they stand on issues impacting our immigrant communities. They should make sure that young people can thrive regardless of their documentation status, allow parents to provide for their families, and ensure immigrants can participate in community life without fear of being targeted. Specifically, we urge candidates to:

  • Keep families together. Children belong with their parents. That is true whether the families arrive at the border fleeing economic hardship and violence, or living and working in Wisconsin’s cities, small towns, and rural areas. Candidates should advocate for border policies that allow families to stay together when they seek asylum at the border, and block immigration enforcement from targeting law-abiding citizens.

  • Make higher education affordable for all Wisconsin residents. Currently, undocumented youth in Wisconsin are not eligible to pay in-state tuition rates at public higher education institutions, even if they have lived in Wisconsin nearly their whole lives. Instead, they must pay the far less affordable out-of-state tuition rates. Elected officials should make changes that allow all students who are Wisconsin residents to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of their documentation status, thereby improving access to higher education. 

  • Protect young immigrants vulnerable to deportation. Immigrant youth need access to higher education, the ability to work, access to transportation, and the opportunity to establish a secure future, regardless of their documentation status. The federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy temporarily provides those protections for immigrant youth, but President Trump has weakened the protections. Wisconsin lawmakers should affirm and strengthen those protections.

  • Remove barriers to driver licenses. Immigrants are an important part of the Wisconsin workforce, but state law makes it harder for them to get to jobs because undocumented immigrants are ineligible to obtain driver licenses. Removing barriers to obtaining driver licenses would make Wisconsin highways safer, result in insurance savings for a broad pool of drivers, and help businesses connect with workers who have skill sets that match employer needs. 

  • Allow families to access help with health care, food, and housing without fear of retaliation. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between keeping their families healthy and securing their future. Elected officials should oppose policies that would penalize immigrants seeking permanent residence (green cards) or those seeking to enter the country for their lawful use of public programs that help families function smoothly.