Wisconsin Dairy Farmers Oppose Sanctuary City Immigration Bill

Madison - Senate Bill 275 is knows as the sanctuary city bill, a Republican sponsored bill would require local authorities to cooperate with Federal Immigration authorities to apprehend illegal immigrants instead of providing sanctuary for immigrants, Madison and Milwaukee are both considered sanctuary cities.

Today at a Senate hearing in Madison a member of the Farmers Union of Wisconsin spoke to the committee saying that the union board of directors opposes this bill unanimously. 

That is because Wisconsin dairy farmers who produces the second most dairy behind only California relies on a migrant workforce in order to perform their day to day operations.

"If something like this would go into place and we have cows that aren't getting milked," said Nick Levendofsky of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. "Then that is milk is not getting on the market and that is more farmers that are going out of business."

Republican State Senator Stephen Nass from Whitewater and the chair of the committee fired back saying that this bill is not targeting law abiding citizens.

"If they aren't hiring criminals then they don't have anything to worry about," said Nass. "Basically the safety of individuals is being harmed by the criminal element because ICE doesn't know they exist if nobody tells them, and that's the problem with sanctuary cities."

Looking at some of the numbers nationwide half the employees at dairy farms are immigrant workers, the data does not show if these workers are legal or not.

However, it is clear that the Wisconsin's largest industry has changed over the last generation and has started to move away from family farms to more large scale farms.

Some people ask why not hire American workers? That has been very difficult because tending to animals is a job that has to be done 365 days a year.

Employees work long hours, weekends and holidays, these workers have to endure every type of Wisconsin weather and this hard labor comes with minimal pay, so the immigrants fill a job that most Americans would not want to do.

Historically this has been a pattern when the United States needs a labor force they turn to Mexico, when those workers are no longer needed the U.S.attempts to take these workers back to Mexico.

The Bracero program was enacted during World War II when so many Americans were off fighting a war, the United States turned to Mexico for people to work in the agricultural sector.

When the soldiers returned home after the war President Eisenhower initiated Operation Wetback with the purpose of rounding up these braceros and taking them back to Mexico, it is estimated that more than a million people were taken back to Mexico.


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