Tomorrow’s “A Day Without Latinos” rally in Madison, Wis. has some state farmers worried they’ll have enough workers left on the farm to milk the cows.
The Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel reports that the rally could draw away enough Latino workers that farms will be left with skeleton crews to milk and feed cattle.
According to a University of Wisconsin study, 40% of employees on Wisconsin farms are immigrants.
One dairyman, Don Niles, of Dairy Dreams, Casco, Wis., actually paid a number of his employees to attend the rally to represent all their co-workers. In return, the Latino crew guaranteed enough workers would stay behind to milk and feed Niles’ 2,850 cows.
The rally is being held to emphasize opposition to anti-immigrant bills circulating at the Capitol. One bill prohibits local governments from issuing photo IDs to immigrants in the country illegally. It awaits Gov. Scott Walker’s signature.
Another bill would prohibit “sanctuary cities,” where police would not be allowed to question a person’s immigration status if charged for some other violation.
While most of these laws do not directly affect farm labor, they do create an unwelcoming environment, says the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. Consequently, immigrants may choose states other than Wisconsin for future employment, it says.