Milwaukee-based non-profit Voces de la Frontera organized a local rally this week to protest the U.S. Senate’s rejection of a Democratic bid for immigration reform.
On Monday, Voces de la Frontera hosted a rally and press conference of over 100 Wisconsin immigrants and allies to voice their disapproval of the Senate’s rejection of a Democratic bid for immigration reform being included in the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Agenda.
Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s stance restricts a pathway to citizenship for an estimated eight million undocumented immigrants, excluding this group from being included in President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda, according to the LA Times.
Biden’s bill plans to improve American infrastructure includes increasing the fairness of tax codes and holding large, wealthy corporations financially responsible for themselves, according to the White House.
Senate Democrats met with MacDonough on Sunday to defend the bid for a pathway to citizenship for specific communities of undocumented immigrants including essential workers, farmworkers, DACA “Dreamers” and Temporary Permanent Status holders, according to the LA Times.
MacDonough rejected these claims on the grounds that the proposed bid is a broad policy change that outweighs the met necessary criteria to be included in the reconciliation budget, according to the House Committee on the Budget.
The debated criteria is the bid’s direct budgetary effect, with Sunday’s immigration bid estimated to increase budget deficits by nearly $140 billion over ten years, according to CBS News. MacDonough’s ruling was met with national disappointment and resistance, as well as local resistance in Wisconsin, amplified by the work of the non-profit Voces de la Frontera, also known as VDLF.
Located in Milwaukee, VDLF is an organization led by low-wage workers, immigrants and youth with a mission to improve civil and workers’ rights through community organization, according to the VDLF website.
VDLF organized a rally and press conference on Monday to demand that Democrats fulfill promises of immigration reform. Over 100 immigrants and allies gathered in front of the organization’s office, chanting “Biden, escucha, estamos en la lucha,” or, in English, “Biden, listen, we are in the fight.”
Three out of four immigrants in America are essential workers and approximately 50% of all U.S. farmworkers are undocumented, VDLF Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz said in a statement.
While MacDonough decided against the Democratic bid for immigration reform, VDLF and those who disapprove of the ruling call for Democrats to disregard the opinion. Following Monday’s rally and press conference, VDLF members took a bus to Washington D.C. to join the national call to action in protest, according to the Wausau Daily Herald.
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According to videos from the VDLF Facebook page, the organization made it to Washington D.C. In a statement from the press conference preceding the VDLF trip to D.C, a representative reminded the crowd of immigrants and allies of the purpose behind their trip.
“To make sure to send a message to Democrats in Congress [saying that] they have the power to continue to move forward [and] offer this path to citizenship by using their simple majority power, [honoring] the contributions of immigrants who have put, literally, their lives on the line during this pandemic,” the representative said in the video clip.