Businesses in Madison close for Day Without Latinx rally

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MADISON (WKOW) — Demonstrators are asking lawmakers to restore drivers licenses and state ID cards for everyone in Wisconsin, including undocumented immigrants.

Governor Tony Evers drivers license proposal was at the center of Wednesday’s rally.

Hundreds of businesses were closed across the state Wednesday, as owners and workers stood in support of immigrants without licenses.

Including Raul Silva and his family, who says most of his coworkers were here and not at work.

“90 percent of them are here. We’re all here backing the same idea of trying to get licenses for ourselves and all immigrants,” Silva said.

More than three dozen businesses in Madison closed for the Day without Latinx and Immigrants, including both of La Michoacana’s locations, where both the workers and the owners agreed to not open.

Owner Liliana Valerio said that being closed will cost them thousands of dollars in profits.

She said not standing up for her beliefs will cost her even more.

“It’s not about the money. Those are our losses for one day but if we support each other, the opportunity for us to get licenses will be greater. So it’s important that, even if we’re losing out, we’re here.”

She says it’s about safety.

“Knowing who we are when we’re stopped by police, so they can identify us. To know exactly who is out driving on the roads in the case of an accident,” Valerio said. “There are people out there now driving like that, so we want the opportunity.”

As for Silva, he says that seeing all these people here supporting their cause, gives them hope.

“I see a lot of white Americans here backing us up,” Silva said. “Hopefully given time, more join us who understand that with licenses we’ll all be more safe on the roads.”

Undocumented immigrants were able to get licenses until the REAL ID laws were passed back in 2005.

Governor Evers has a provision in his budget that is pushing for drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants.

But Republicans oppose the measure because they say it encourages illegal immigration.

Francisco Almenara

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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