Racine County activists, community leaders call for Biden, Congress to address immigration reform

NOW: Racine County activists, community leaders call for Biden, Congress to address immigration reform

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Racine, Wis. (CBS 58) – As President Joe Biden approaches 100 days in office, activists and community leaders who worked to give him an election victory are pushing for the administration to move forward with its promises to reform the country’s immigration system.

While Biden has scored political victories in Washington, including the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the issue of immigration continues to draw criticism not just from political opponents, but by his supporters.

“It's not going to be solved overnight,” Vice President Kamala Harris told CNN in an interview on Sunday, April 25. “It's a complex issue. Listen, if this were easy, it would have been handled years ago.”

Harris referred to the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the administration’s plan to address it. The border crisis is just one of several parts of the overall immigration issue.

At the Racine County Courthouse, activists with Voces de la Frontera and community leaders held a rally to draw attention to other policy priorities.

On top of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship, those who participated also want an end to Trump-era immigration enforcement policies and inclusion of undocumented immigrants as recipients of any future COVID-19 relief.

Although Pres. Biden has sent a bill to Congress on immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, it remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

“I say b.s. to Biden and Congress for sitting very comfortably on the seat that they are right now that we all elected in 2020 and still does not give what they’re supposed to give,” Fernanda Jimenez, a DACA recipient, told rally attendees.

Biden won Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election by fewer than 21,000 votes. Organizations like Voces de la Frontera helped bring in votes for the Democrat from the state’s Latino community. The sentiment at Sunday’s rally was one of the Biden administration now having to deliver on promises to the community that helped him put him in office, or risk further dissatisfaction.

“When you keep promising something, and it keeps falling through the wayside, people will catch on and people are wary,” Racine County Board Supervisor Fabi Maldonado told CBS 58. “We heard it today, some people are already disappointed.”

The hope from those who participated in the rally is events like Sunday’s can further put the spotlight on the issue and press members of Congress and the Biden administration to deliver on long sought after policy goals.

“We have to hold him accountable, we have to put pressure,” Ania Jimenez, Fernanda’s sister and also a DACA recipient said. “That’s the way we’re going to get it done.”

Voces de la Frontera will be holding an event on May 1 to mark May Day and Biden’s 100 days in office, which will also be used to shine a light on the issue of immigration. A delegation from Voces will also be in attendance in Washington D.C. on May 1 as part of a national push for immigration reform.

CBS 58 reached out to the offices of Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson as well as Rep. Bryan Steil but did not immediately get replies for comment.

Sen. Baldwin is a cosponsor of Biden’s immigration reform bill, called the U.S. Citizen Ship Act.

“Our immigration system is broken and we need to work together in Congress to fix it. The U.S. Citizenship Act prioritizes keeping families together and provides hardworking Wisconsinites, including Dreamers and the essential workers who add value to our communities, an opportunity to earn citizenship,” Sen. Baldwin said in a Feb. 19 statement on the bill. “The legislation addresses the root causes of migration from Central America, and will help us responsibly manage and secure the border with smart investments. With this bold legislation, we will modernize our immigration system with comprehensive reforms that can help us strengthen our economy.”

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