GOP lawmakers defend bills that led to 'Day Without Latinos' pro - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

GOP lawmakers defend bills that led to 'Day Without Latinos' protest

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican lawmakers are defending legislation that that drew roughly 20,000 Latino protesters to the State Capitol Thursday.

The bill protesters find most offensive would prohibit so-called "sanctuary cities" in Wisconsin.

Most of the Latino leaders who rallied opponents say that bill will accomplish nothing, except to keep illegal immigrants from cooperating with law enforcement during criminal investigations.        

But the bill's author and the Assembly speaker said Latino group are misrepresenting the bill.

Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield), who authored AB 450, said it only requires law enforcement to report illegal immigrants to federal authorities if they are charged with a crime. Spiros said he believes many Latino leaders were telling people they could be deported if they get a traffic ticket or other municipal citation, which is not true.

"The fear being instilled is not coming from the Wisconsin Legislature. It's coming from activists who want to try to pursue a political agenda and I think that's unfortunate," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (D-Milwaukee) fought passage of the bill and urged opponents to continue voicing their concerns.

"The fight unfortunately is over here in the Assembly, but the sanctuary city bill now goes to the Senate. And so, these Latino immigrant Wisconsinites are here today to let their Senators know that they are against this anti-immigrant bill," said Rep. Zamarripa.

But Rep. Zamarripa feels there's only a slim chance Senate Republicans won't pass AB 450. The Senate will have at least one more floor period in March.

Speaker Vos also defended another bill that upset the protesters, which prohibits towns and counties from issuing local identification cards. It also prevents people from using city or village IDs for purposes of voter identification.

That bill has been passed by both the Assembly and Senate.

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