Immigration debate hits Marathon County - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Immigration debate hits Marathon County

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

A Marathon County committee approved a resolution urging Wisconsin lawmakers to create a path for undocumented workers to work in the country legally, but not everyone thinks that's fair.

"We know that we have a substantial population of undocumented workers in our county. Many of them work in the dairy industry, many of them work in the hospitality industry," Education and Economic Development Committee Chair Jim Rosenberg said after a meeting Monday.

A resolution was passed by that committee almost unanimously. One person voted against it.

"We can't put the undocumented workers or even the businesses ahead of the people who are here legally and should be given the opportunity to work," board member Oliver Burrows said.

He argued that changing the rules would be irresponsible.

"We not only have undocumented workers, but we have businesses saying that they cannot function without those undocumented workers and no one is dealing with those businesses either," Burrows said.

But others disagree.

"We want to create a pathway toward legal status so that we can solve some of these social problems and make sure that kids can get educated, that people can do their jobs, be treated fairly," Rosenberg said.

The resolution comes on the heels of a big national debate on immigration. We tried contacting Congressman Sean Duffy who represents Marathon County for his take on the issue, but he was unavailable.

People on both sides of the issue agree discussion is necessary, because it isn't going away.

"There is an economic impact," Burrows said.

Rosenberg added, "It will be a compromise before it's over there's no question about that."

The resolution will now go before the entire Marathon County board for approval next month.

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