Members of Organizing for Action-WI on Monday called for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to host town hall meetings and take quick action on a comprehensive immigration reform measure.
Although small, the lunchtime rally outside of Ryan's Kenosha headquarters Monday allowed the OFA supporters to record questions they would ask at a town meeting.
The rally is part of the organization's national effort to encourage lawmakers to push for immigration reform, affordable health care and gun-violence prevention, said Dennis Hughes, a special issue organizer for the OFA.
The OFA volunteers want comprehensive immigration reform "because it will keep families together, make our streets safer, and is the humane thing to do," said special issue organizer Dennis Hughes.
He said immigration reform would give the 11 million immigrants, many of whom are working, going to school and raising families, a chance to become citizens.
He said he knows of an undocumented Racine resident Ines Herrera, who walks 10 miles to work because she doesn't have access to a car or public transportation.
"She's a dedicated worker who simply wants to be able to get to work,” he said.
Unlike her, however, "many undocumented workers simply drive without training or a license and are uninsured. Comprehensive immigration reform will allow undocumented immigrants to get a Social Security card and driver's license."
Debbie Wiersum, of Kenosha, said a immigration reform would benefit those in school as well.
“It's frustrating for them because they get an education, but then can't get jobs they want," she said.
"We want a level playing field, not a patchwork measure that is designed to just strengthen the border. He (Ryan) needs to start paying attention to his constituents," said Shanon Molina of Kenosha.
Another Kenosha rally, the License to Dream Tour, is scheduled for Aug. 28 on public property outside of Palmen GMC/Buick, 7110 74th Place. The dealership itself has no affiliation with the rally.
Referring to Ryan's publically announced commitment to immigration reform, Hughes said, "He has already said he wants to vote on immigration reform. We want him to call for a vote. He's been a leader on this issue."
Ryan was unavailable for comment.
The White House last week released a report that said a pathway to citizenship would add 2 million jobs to the economy and boost gross domestic product by $1.4 trillion over the next decade.
The Senate has approved a bill; however, House leaders have suggested they aren't likely to adopt it.