Immigrants rights groups hold demonstration outside Paul Ryan's hometown church

Photo credit: Chuck Quirmbach

From Wisconsin Public Radio:

by Chuck Quirmbach

House Speaker Paul Ryan will hold a town hall Monday night in Racine. 

In his first town hall open to the public in his congressional district in about two years, Ryan, R-Wisconsin, will be moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper and also take questions from some residents the cable TV network lets into the event slated to air at 8 p.m. CT.

Organizations are planning protest rallies outside the Racine Theater Guild on Monday evening.

On Sunday, immigrants rights groups held a demonstration outside Ryan's hometown church, St. John Vianney Catholic Church, in Janesville.

Valeria Ruiz of Voces de la Frontera said Ryan needs to directly criticize President Trump's initial remarks about "many sides" being to blame for the recent violence at a white supremacists rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  

"He's a Catholic. He should know what to do and what's right," Ruiz said, referring to Ryan.

Ryan has called white supremacy "repulsive" and said its "bigotry is counter to all this country stands for." 

The pro-immigration groups also called on Ryan to help continue a federal program that protects immigrant children from deportation. 

Cendi Trujillo of Voces de la Frontera urged Ryan to make use of his clout as Speaker of the House.

"He has more power than other elected officials. He can clearly say, 'You know what? We are not going to take this program away that every single person who is rational knows has benefited this country,'" Trujillo told reporters covering Sunday's rally. 

Ryan has called for a "humane" approach to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Ten states are calling for an end to DACA by next month.

Ryan's media spokesperson did not respond to WPR's request for comment about the rally outside the church.

Ryan did not attend the church service held just before the protest. The immigrants groups emphasized they were not criticizing church officials, and said they informed the church the demonstration would be taking place.

Janesville police had seven snowplows parked on the street outside St. John Vianney Catholic Church. An officer said that was to protect protestors from any attack. 

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