We Stand With our Neighbors
By Dane County Executive Joe Parisi

Earlier this year, I proposed the creation of a new county position, an immigration specialist, along with seed money for a
legal assistance fund, in order to assist our immigrant community in the face of increasing hostility from the federal
government. I am grateful to the County Board for approving this request and for further increasing funding for the legal fund.
These actions demonstrated a unity of purpose between myself and the Board of Supervisors and were also a statement of
support from our greater community to our immigrant neighbors.  We are sending a clear message that we care about our
immigrant community. We stand with them not only in word but also in deed, especially as they endure unprecedented
hostility from federal officials.

To our local immigrant community, I want to be clear: your local leaders do not agree with recent actions taken by our
federal government, such as the elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or stepped up efforts aimed at
mass deportation. In Dane County we welcome you, we respect you, we stand with you, and we are here to assist you
during these challenging times.

We have created a special position and allocated seed money that we are leveraging to draw in additional outside funding
in order to provide you with resources to help you navigate the legal system. Dane County is one community made up of
many. While we are diverse, we are also one. When you pick on one of us, you pick on all of us—and we don’t like bullies.
Unfortunately, there are too many bullies masquerading as political messiahs today. But, we’re not buying what they’re
selling. We know the message of true moral leadership echoes the central tenet of every great religion—to love your
neighbor.  True moral leadership comes not just from words but from actions. This is Dane County, and we still hold to the
truth that all people are created equal. This includes the Dreamers and their families who came here for the same reasons
my grandparents did.

And let us not forget, we need immigration in order to thrive as a nation. We have a severe worker shortage in the United
States. We have tens of thousands of job openings we cannot fill right here in Dane County. Contractors are turning down
work because they can’t find enough employees. The Social Security system is going broke because not enough workers
are paying into it.

Immigrants are not the problem; they are a vital part of the solution. There is no moral or logical reason not to welcome our
immigrant neighbors. So we’re going to fight for them, we’re going to stand by them, and we’re going to help them in their
quest to realize the American Dream.