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Support DACA Recipients – Build a Better Wisconsin (DACA Bills in the Wisconsin State Legislature)


Learn more about four DACA bills and have a voice with your legislators on THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2024

9:30 AM Registration

Begin at Bethel Lutheran Church – 312 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison, WI 53703
End at the Capitol

Please Register by January 22, 2024, to help us contact your legislators ahead of time.

Sponsors include the Wisconsin Council of Churches and Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice.

Tentative Schedule:

  • 9:45 Introduction and Opening Prayer
  • 10:00 Panel discussion with Q&A
  • 11:15 Tips on how to talk to your legislators
  • 11:30 Meet with others from your senate district
  • 11:45 Lunch
  • 1:00 PM Visit Senators
  • 2:00        Visit Assembly Representatives
  • Option to meet with our group in a room in the capitol to debrief

Suggested donation for lunch is $15.  Registration online soon.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients are individuals who came to the U.S. undocumented at age 15 or younger, have lived in this country for at least five years and are in school or have a diploma.  Many of the improvements we seek for legislation DACA recipients are on a federal level.  However, in our legislature, we currently have four bills to support DACA recipients, as well as our Wisconsin workforce.

There are 578,680 DACA workers in the United States in total and 5,790 right here in Wisconsin.  As a state, we are able to address the following that DACA recipients cannot currently do here:

  • Receive professional licenses to be teachers, nurses, electricians, plumbers, etc.
  • Pay in-state tuition even if they have lived in Wisconsin most of their lives.
  • Receive a tax credit to help renew their status every two years.
  • Become police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

AB822/SB828 likely has the most support.  The bill would directly impact our workforce by allowing individuals who are part of the DACA program to be eligible to receive occupational licenses.  At least 16 states have this eligibility for DACA recipients for at least one type of professional license and most of these states allow for most or all types of professional licenses in the state. This legislation would help Wisconsin fill our labor shortages.  According to DWD’s Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey, there were a total of 187,000 job openings across the state and widely expressed concerns by employers about the challenge of filling these positions.

“I got into nursing school only to learn that even after graduating, I wouldn’t be able to get a nursing license.”  –DACA recipient at a public hearing on AB822

AB821/SB843 would allow DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition for Wisconsin schools like most residents who have lived in the state for 12 months. The current exclusion of DACA recipients from this is an undue burden on these individuals and harms Wisconsin due to the potential of them leaving the state rather than help fill our state’s labor shortage. Moreover, a loophole in reciprocity law currently allows DACA recipients living in Minnesota to pay in-state tuition for Minnesota. 25 other states and D.C. already allow in-state tuition for DACA students, so it is time for Wisconsin to get up to speed on where these other states are.

“I lived in Wisconsin since I was a child, went to school in Wisconsin.  I love the Packers.  But I had to pay out-of-state tuition.”  Paraphrase from a Daca recipient who testified on AB 822 but also mentioned tuition.

AB820/SB865 would create a tax credit for DACA recipients of $250 for their annual taxes. Currently, DACA recipients have to go through many hurdles to remain in Wisconsin due to their status. This tax credit would target one condition of their status renewal which requires them to pay $495 every two years for the ability to work and pay taxes in this country. With other hurdles that DACA recipients have to go through, it is time for Wisconsin to help them have one less concern in their lives.

AB51/SB78 would allow the sheriff of a county or appointing authority of a local law enforcement agency to authorize the appointment of DACA recipients.  The bill also prevents the law enforcement standards board from preventing a DACA recipient from participating in a
law enforcement preparatory training program.  “Under current law, no person may be appointed as a deputy sheriff of any county or police officer of any city, village, or town unless that person is a citizen of the United States.”

We have a shortage of employees in many of our professions.  We need to stop sending our talent to other states to study and remain.  Let’s to do what is right for our neighbors and our communities.