Ryan Protest

Twelve women hold hands Friday afternoon, November 8, 2013, as they block Sixth Street during an immigration reform protest outside Congressman Paul Ryan's office in Downtown Racine. / Gregory Shaver gregory.shaver@journaltimes.com

RACINE — Racine police confirmed Friday that the 12 women who on Nov. 8 blocked off Sixth Street in front of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s office, to spur him to action on immigration reform, will all receive disorderly conduct citations.

Each citation carries a fine of $334.50, according to Racine Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Jessie Metoyer.

Protester Francisca Meraz, a 20-year-old from Milwaukee, said the fine and even the possibility of being arrested were worth getting the message out.

“We were running out of ways to communicate this,” she said. “[Reform is] urgent and people need it now.”

Meraz was one of the 12 women in immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera who sat down in the road in front of the Republican congressman’s Racine office, 216 Sixth St., forcing police to close that block for about an hour during the late afternoon Nov. 8.

The protesters said Ryan, whose First Congressional District includes Racine County, had broken his promise to pass swift and decisive legislation overhauling the country’s immigration policy, and they held the protest to prod him back into action.

Meraz, an organizer in Voces de la Frontera’s youth branch, Youth Empowered in the Struggle, said the gratitude she has seen from the teens and young adults she works with, many of whom are illegal immigrants, makes her own sacrifice seem small.

“I’m willing to risk my record to make a positive difference in their lives,” she said. “It’s the smallest thing I can do.”

Not all of the protesters had received their tickets as of Friday evening, and they had not come to a unified decision as to whether or not they would contest the citations.

A court date has been scheduled for Dec. 11, according to Metoyer.

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