Wisconsin legislators ban ID cards for immigrants

A key battle in the fight for immigrant rights has been lost with a bill being passed by the Wisconsin legislature to ban countries from issuing ID cards to undocumented immigrants, but activists say that is not going to be the end of the story.

Advocates, led by Voces de la Frontera, are hoping that shows of force beginning last month with a major protest in front of the state Capitol will force the measure to be vetoed by Governor Scott Walker. If that fails to work, the immigrant advocates say they will move their attention to cities such as Madison and Milwaukee, which have a large Latino demographic.

Supporters of the ID card program claim that immigrant holders would be able to honestly identify themselves to law enforcement agents, go into schools and open bank accounts, in addition to other benefits, but Republican opponents claim that the cards are too easy to make fake copies of and their banning would prevent confusion and fraud, while pointing out that counties lack the authority to be able to give out such documentation in the first place. “We already issue state ID,” says Senator Van Wanggaard, who believes the immigrant ID cards also result in a credibility problem.

The dispute highlights the continued attempts being made to further integrate immigrants into the overall Wisconsin community and throughout the United States as well as politicians who resist such efforts as they feel it rewards immigrants for breaking the nation’s immigration laws.