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Milwaukee rallies for family reunification, challenges non-profit that locks up kids

By staff |
June 29, 2018
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Milwaukee, WI - On June 28 local Milwaukee organizations mobilized hundreds of community members calling for the reunification of immigrant children with their families, and for the immediate resignation of Anselmo Villarreal from his current position as board member of the Southwest Key Programs.

Southwest Key Programs is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit group is based in Austin, Texas and is the organization responsible for the facilities that lock up migrant children and families in cages. While the group brags about “providing safe, loving, caring protection for children” many around the country have woken up to the reality that these programs are indeed nothing more than modern day internment camps.

Villarreal has managed to keep his status as board member largely unknown to the Milwaukee immigrant and refugee community, a move that undoubtedly is due to his more well-known position as board member of Waukesha, Wisconsin’s largest “Hispanic community serving organization” La Casa De Esperanza.

Founded in 1966 as History Builders, the non-profit was renamed to La Casa de Esperanza, or House of Hope, in 1968. Starting in the early 1970s, La Casa de Esperanza began to grow and expand beyond a focus on educational programs to services in areas such as financial literacy, workforce development, tax assistance and preparation, food services, youth arts, low income housing, and weatherization services.

Today, La Casa de Esperanza is the largest human service organization in Waukesha County and remains fully committed to fostering an educated, impassioned, and free citizenry capable of achieving their full potential as individuals and Waukesha residents.

The rally and march was held in Milwaukee's Southside, hosted by the Young People’s Resistance Committee. The community’s message is clear, you cannot at the same time be a protector of families and their jailer. The community also addressed his reasons for involvement, and stated that “prisons are prisons. It doesn’t matter if they are pretty or colorful, they are still prisons.” Others also shared stories about their experiences crossing the border into the U.S., highlighting the trauma caused by the separation of families.

The Young People’s Resistance Committee, along with the Milwaukee community, will continue to fight for the rights of immigrant families and bring out to light any opportunist like Anselmo Villarreal. The fight continues.