On the same morning that President Donald Trump arrived in Milwaukee for a fundraising event, members attending the national convention of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) marched in protest to the office of U.S. Senator Ron Johnson at the Federal Courthouse on Wisconsin Avenue.
The crowd of almost one hundred protesters chanted calls to “free the children” for nine blocks from the Wisconsin Center. Students wrapped in aluminum foil carried symbolic animal cages with dolls locked inside – also wrapped in aluminum foil, representing documented conditions within American detention camps at the border with Mexico. The cages were taken to the steps of the Federal Courthouse and into the building entrance, but could not pass through security.
As the chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, the Republican Senator has the authority to develop a bipartisan solution to address conditions at the border. He also has the power to influence immigration policy. The protestors called on Senator Johnson to help immediately stop the mistreatment and abuse of the reported 60,000 refugee children being held in detention camps on American soil.
“It’s time to stop the jailing of innocent boys and girls suffering at the hands of the U.S. federal government agents,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President. “We want Senator Johnson to know that LULAC will march, protest, and pursue every lawful means possible to stop this inhumane attack. This is only the first blast. Welcome to Milwaukee, President Trump.”
LULAC officials said they tried multiple times to arrange a time to speak with Senator Johnson. A letter was delivered on July 2 asking for a meeting on July 12, to discuss border conditions while LULAC’s leadership was in town for the 90th National Convention. With no reply or acknowledgement, Garcia led the group to hand deliver the letter and attempt to speak with the Senator.
“Although we have made significant strides on many fronts, the current crisis occurring along the border and in detention centers under the management of the Department of Homeland Security remains our top priority. As Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, you have an immense responsibility to oversee and insure that all those taken into custody and detained by our immigration enforcement system are treated with the dignity and respect all human beings deserve, regardless of their legal status.” – Domingo Garcia
Over the decades, LULAC has waged many civil rights battles to win equity for Latino school children, veterans, workers, and immigrants. Members of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and other concerned community members also joined the march to Senator Johnson’s office.
“More than a year ago, Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO called out President Trump for pursuing misguided and cruel immigration policies at the southern border,” said Pam Fendt, Milwaukee Area Labor Council President. “According to Trumka, ‘the Trump administration is using enforcement overreach to terrify immigrant workers,’ and in the spirit of solidarity that exemplifies our movement, we call on Senator Johnson to close the camps and reunite families.
Trump was invited to speak at LULAC’s conference, along with all of the 2020 presidential candidates, but also never responded. Garcia said he did not think it was a coincidence that Trump planned a visit to Milwaukee a day after the Democratic candidates spoke at LULAC’s Town Hall.
The Wisconsin visit also comes in anticipation of a soon to be released book by former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), which is reportedly very critical of the president’s behavior and lack of ability to govern.
It was later confirmed that Senator Johnson flew with Trump from Washington DC to attend the Milwaukee fundraiser. LULAC members plan to visit the Senator’s office in Washington DC next week.
These images captured moments from the march and protest, as concerned individuals from all over the country marched in Milwaukee calling for an end to the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers from South America.
Letter to Senator Ron Johnson
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