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Immigration advocates fill a hearing room Thursday at the state Capitol for a news conference on a budget proposal to allow all immigrants to get Wisconsin driver's licenses.

Immigration advocates rallied Thursday at the state Capitol in support of Gov. Tony Evers’ budget request that would allow immigrants in the country illegally to receive driver’s licenses and identification cards.

The rally, organized by the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, comes as supporters of the proposal have the best chance in recent memory to pass the law given the new Democratic governor’s support. Participants in the rally gathered in the Capitol rotunda and additionally met with lawmakers to urge them to support Evers’ proposal.

The proposal, however, is unlikely to go anywhere given opposition from Republican lawmakers. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, in January told a Milwaukee radio station Republicans would not approve any measure giving licenses to immigrants not authorized to live here.

A Vos spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.

If lawmakers were to approve the measure, Wisconsin would join 12 other states and the District of Columbia in making all immigrants eligible for driver’s licenses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Before 2007 and the passage of the federal REAL ID Act, Wisconsin residents could obtain a driver’s license regardless of immigration status, according to Voces.

Speakers at Thursday’s rally represented a variety of backgrounds, such as immigrants, law enforcement, dairy farmers and advocates for victims of domestic violence.

Veronica Esquivel, 46, a restaurant worker originally from Mexico who lives in Waukesha, told the State Journal through a translator that obtaining a license would mean a greater sense of security, allowing her to take her children to school and go to doctor’s appointments without fear of being pulled over.

She said she currently doesn’t risk getting a ticket, so she takes the city bus to and from work.

Her concerns were acknowledged by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, who told those gathered in the Capitol that allowing those in the country illegally to obtain driver’s licenses and identification cards would “be the greatest gift to me.”


Supporters of a state budget proposal to provide immigrants without Social Security numbers an opportunity to obtain driver's licenses gather for a rally and news conference Thursday at the state Capitol.

Koval said providing such licenses would help fulfill the mission of community policing, and would promote safety and economic growth.

“You should not have to look over your shoulder with fear and apprehension when you drop your kids off for school, when you go for groceries or go to a house of worship,” he said.

A report released late last year by the liberal research group Kids Forward found the number of drivers without car insurance would decrease by about 28,000 if lawmakers allowed all immigrants to obtain licenses.

The report also estimates 32,000 residents would gain a Wisconsin driver’s license; 22,000 of those residents are currently employed, some in industries such as dairy, which relies heavily on immigrant labor.

Backed by dairy

Some in the dairy industry are openly supporting the governor’s proposal, including the Dairy Business Association, which calls it a measure to increase public safety. Association president Tom Crave, who is a farmer, said in a statement there are often few, if any, alternatives to driving, especially in rural areas.

Michael Slattery of the Wisconsin Farmers Union said thousands of immigrant dairy workers help farmers in the state produce more than $30 billion worth of product and deserve to be treated fairly.


Madison Police Chief Mike Koval says the proposal would help fulfill the mission of community policing and promote safety and economic growth.

“These are family-oriented people, they are conscientious, they are committed, they are doing work that no one else would, and we need to take care of our labor,” he told those gathered Thursday.

‘Illegal behavior’

Not everyone agreed with his thinking.

Dave Gorak, executive director of the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration, said there is a lack of evidence showing immigrants, many of whom send much of their paychecks to their home countries, would buy car insurance. And he argued businesses could circumvent the problem of employees lacking driver’s licenses by increasing wages and hiring U.S. citizens.

“Our immigration crisis exists because for years ‘lawmakers’ at all levels of government have been rewarding illegal behavior in order to satisfy the business community’s unquenchable thirst for cheap and exploitable foreign labor,” Gorak said in an email. “There are no jobs that Americans won’t do if given decent wages.”

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(4) comments

kelly jobson

My immigration infomercial:


What a place to start a family. Illegal aliens, gang members, felons fleeing ICE are your

neighbors. Emergency services Taxpayer pay for every police, fire, paramedic service

call for illegal aliens in their city. Taxpayers pay for all hospital, emergency room

treatments, ambulances, medications. Hospital wait times for citizens are negatively



Its Trumps fault!!! LOL. Democrats offer rewards, incentives so.....More caravans on

the way. The current migration at our border is costing U.S taxpayers a Kings ransom.

Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don't stay in Mexico when they

reach "safety" or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico

will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous

Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult,

dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant? Give birth on American soil

and the U.S. taxpayers will not only pay for the birth of you're child but will also give

you state government assistance.


The Border Patrol, DHS, ICE our Military & the Army Corps of Engineers have all

endorsed the need for a wall numerous times almost nightly. However, immigration

experts Nancy Pelosi & Chuck Schumer disagree, saying the wall won't work, oh and

they also have zero ideas. I'll go with the opinions of the border patrol not open

borders crowd. Barrack Obama’s own border patrol chief, Mark Morgan, has

repeatedly stated that walls work. They free up resources to focus on the points of

entrances so they can detect more contraband and illegals. Check out the wall on



To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like

Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action For Childhood arrivals

(DACA) are permanent programs....there is nothing "temporary or deferred." These

programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then

Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion,

guilt against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.


Democrats view U.S. citizens as acceptable collateral damage to their future long

range goals of flooding the country with refugees & illegal aliens and having

taxpayers paying the cost. Democrat politicians and their voters have put families at

risk of being victimized by illegal aliens as in the cases Kate Steinly (nothing done)

then.... Mollie Tibbetts, (nothing done) and now, Police Cpl. Ronil Singh nothing will

be done...who's next? These victims would be alive today if our border was secured.

Google search "illegal alien crime" or "victims." try not to puke the list is

unbelievable. Preventable victimization's.

Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children & grand children as has been passed on to us.

*Congress is debating DACA and is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Thank the parents and Barrack Obama.

*Cost of educating illegal aliens is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers on average $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the millions spent on bilingual ED, instructors, special need children & day care. School class size are negatively impacted by illegal aliens and our students suffer as a result.

*Taxpayers in some states are funding "in state college tuition" discounts for illegal

aliens. (AZ voted to terminate this taxpayer expense.) Cost to taxpayers over a billion

dollars annually.

*About one in five inmates in federal prison are foreign-born, and more than 90

percent of those are in the United States illegally. This does not include local jails and

state prisons. At roughly $24,000 per year expense per inmate.

*$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the criminal

justice system.

*Every child birth by illegal aliens in the U.S is paid for with tax dollars.In the US, the

average cost to have a baby without complications during delivery, is $10,808, which

can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy

(July 9, 2018 google.)

* Section 8 housing. Illegal aliens take full advantage of this program. Citizens in

poverty in many cases wait years because of non citizens for housing.

*$2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as

SNAP, WIC, & taxpayer funded school lunches. Visit youtube search "cost of illegal



20,000 drivers in WI. drive without a license.
The rest have 10 or more DUIs, ...get over it !!!
The roads are #49 worst in the Nation.....any way ya'll want to twist it.


Where was ICE when this was going on??

It’s time for ICE to step up and ship the border jumpers back!!!


It's incredible that this topic is even being discussed. Illegal immigrants have zero rights here. Have liberals no shame? Not only allowing them here but wanting to give them driver's licenses and allow them to VOTE in local elections. Mind blowing...

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