Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Falk to Speak at “A Day Without a Latino” Rally on Capitol Steps

April 10, 2006
Lesley Sillaman, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Madison – Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk released the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, for today’s “A Day Without a Latino” rally on the capitol steps in support of fair immigration reform. “I am proud to stand with you as your County Executive and friend. This is such an important event. Important because we are unfortunately seeing many of our leaders in Washington moving backward – to a place we don’t want to go. It’s important that we speak up for what we believe is right and, instead, move our County and Country in a positive direction. “First, let me say that I, too, am an immigrant. My ancestors were Irish and German immigrants to this country. Everyone here except those of Native American Indian descent are immigrants. Our shared immigrant history is what makes this country great. “I am truly grateful for the growing Latino community here in Dane County. I appreciate the cultural values and richness you bring to our County. “You make Dane County a better place for all of us to live. We are honored that you choose Dane County to be your home, to raise your families and to be the leaders you are here. “As your County Executive, I have worked hard to make sure that everyone feels welcome in Dane County. "We are fortunate to have leaders like Araceli Esparza, from my office, who is translating for me today, who works with minorities to help them set up small businesses, and find lending and legal resources. “As an employer, Dane County actively recruits and hires Latinos in all positions – in fact, many of our job positions are specifically recruited as bilingual-bicultural. “We also make sure that bilingual services are available to people for such important things like obtaining marriage licenses and using the court system. “We created in Dane County an ordinance that prohibits County workers from inquiring about the legal status of the people we are serving, so that people do not need to be afraid to come to the County for help, with anything from economic assistance, child care and other human services programs, to our law enforcement and courts system. One proposal before Congress now would outlaw this policy and make it a felony for those who assist immigrants, including government employees. “Last week, I sent a letter to Congress urging members to reject these proposed unfair laws that would undermine our country’s inclusive policies. “It is so inspiring to stand here today, as your friend, and look out on this group of people, who are here because they want a better America. I proudly stand with you 100%. Thank you!” # # #