WAUKESHA — Thousands marched in solidarity on “A Day Without Latinos” on Tuesday, May 1 — marching with a message for the Waukesha County sheriff. A statement from Voces de la Frontera said more than 10,000 took part in the event statewide.
Over 100 businesses closed during the time of the march, thousands of students affiliated with Voces’ student arm Youth Empowered in the Struggle at dozens of schools in Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine, and elsewhere left class, and buses came to Waukesha from over 12 cities.
Marchers rallied at Cutler Park in Waukesha before marching to the Waukesha County Courthouse, where speakers addressed the crowd.
“I was a teacher at Waukesha North High School for 38 years,” said Diane Voit, representative at-large to the Waukesha Board of Education. “Students do not need the fear and anxiety that our current immigration policies add. That is not the learning environment in which you can become the best that you can be. They deserve better from our community – they deserve to feel safe. We urge Sheriff Severson, as a parent, to consider the fear of the children who don’t want to be separated from their parents. We urge him not to implement 287g. My grandparents came to America as immigrants for a better life, as did so many of your parents and grandparents. I firmly believe that immigrants make America great.”
In Waukesha, marchers demanded Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson not turn his deputies into ICE agents through the 287(g) program. Across the country, marches were organized to protest President Donald Trump’s administration’s “cruel crackdown on immigrant communities,” according to Voces.
Waukesha County will take part in a jail model program that gives deputized offices the authority to issue immigration detainers on inmates who could be subject to removal. Sheriff Severson said there’s no firm timetable on when the program will be implemented, but training is set for June.