Twelve women hold hands Friday afternoon, November 8, 2013, as they block Sixth Street during an immigration reform protest outside Congressman Paul Ryan's office in Downtown Racine. / Gregory Shaver firstname.lastname@example.org
RACINE — Twelve Racine women effectively closed a block of Sixth Street for an hour Friday afternoon after they sat in the middle of the street in front of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s office, 216 Sixth St., to push him to take action on immigration reform.
Police blocked off the street at Main Street and allowed the women to address a crowd of several dozen that gathered in front of the Racine office for Ryan, the Janesville Republican who represents Racine County in Congress.
The women-led protest, organized by the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, called on Ryan to work for speedy immigration reform and stop deportations.
Police wrote down each woman’s information and told them that they would be cited for the incident, according to Joe Shansky, a representative of the organization.
One of the women, 77-year-old Racine resident Luz Maria Hernández, said some of her children have been waiting in Mexico for 17 years for their visas to be approved.
“I have no fear because I’m fighting for my children and for many families who also suffer and are saddened,” said Hernández, who has nine children, 31 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Hernández, her one daughter who has been able to move to Racine, 57-year-old Sofia Anguiano, and her granddaughter Cecilia Anguiano were three of the women cited during the protest.
Hernández and her granddaughter were arrested together in a protest in Washington, D.C., in September, but Sofia Anguiano said that Friday was the first time she has ever been ticketed in the United States.
Another protester, Luisa Morales, 25, said that deportations are of particular concern for her because she was raised in Racine by two parents who were always at risk of being deported.
“I feared everyday in my childhood because they came to this country undocumented,” she said. “I had to grow up much sooner than most kids.”
Shansky said that the organization has held similar protests in front of the offices of Ryan, Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson in the past to spur action on immigration reform.
The protest began at about 3 p.m. and lasted for about an hour, until the women concluded the protest and willingly moved out of the street.