Madison rallies to support immigrant community

NOW: Madison rallies to support immigrant community

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A rally was held in Madison Thursday night in support of the immigrant community.

Supporters say Thursday's rally is meant not only to show support for immigrants, but also to address concerns from immigrants in the form of proposed legislation.

One of the bills introduced last week would prohibit certain local governments from entering into contracts with the federal government for detainment centers, and make Wisconsin a sanctuary state. Another introduced Thursday prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status under the open housing law. 

One of the more high profile bills allows certain undocumented immigrants who meet a set of criteria to pay in-state tuition for UW schools.

Representative Chris Taylor of Madison says she hopes her legislative colleagues can see the economic benefits of the tuition bill.

"This is not just the right thing to do, it's an economic issue for our state," Rep. Taylor (D-Madison) said. "We are really hurting. We are going to be in a crisis pretty soon with our workforce shortage. And so this is something we can do to make sure our children, kids who are Wisconsin kids, get to go to school here, and hopefully stay here and lead their lives and have their families here."

While those bills face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled legislature, one bill that has not yet been introduced might have a better shot. That bill would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses here in Wisconsin. That idea has broad support from the state's agricultural community, which could help it become law.

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