The Legislative Session ends, but the fight continues

We Are Florida

We Are Florida! Nou Se Florid! Somos Florida!

En Español Abajo

This week marks the end yet another aggressive legislative session, with the introduction of HB9/SB308 and HB45/SB212, two Trump-inspired anti-immigrant bills that threatened families in Florida. With the immense help of our members and allies, we fought back and won, showing that immigrants aren’t going anywhere, because We Are Florida!

We continue to prove that immigrants are a driving force in our state and that, together, we have the power to fight back. Thank you to the hundreds of fearless families, farmworkers, faith leaders, students and community members who called their legislators and mobilized to Tallahassee to share their stories. We learned, we cried, we danced and, most importantly, we protected our communities.

We thank Senator Anitere Flores, Senator Rene Garcia and Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez for standing up for our community and and coming out publicly against these bills, making it impossible for them even move through the Senate committee. We also thank our champions in the House, including including Reps. Al Jacquet, Amy Mercado, Carlos Smith and many others who stood up in committee meetings and on the House Floor to defend immigrant families and our local governments.

It has been an honor to work with every single one of you, and now that legislative session is behind us, we ask you to stay engaged with in the fight by connecting with our organizers. We are in a pivotal moment that requires strengthening our base and building a broad coalition of advocates dedicated to protecting our communities

Contact your local organizers:

Julio Calderon, South Florida: sflteam@floridaimmigrant.org
Pamela Gomez, Tampa: pamela@floridaimmigrant.org
Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, Orlando: isabelsousa@floridaimmigrant.org

En Español

We Are Florida! Nou Se Florid! Somos Florida!

Este año marca otra sesión legislativa más agresiva, con la presentación de HB9 / SB308 y HB45 / SB212, dos proyectos de ley antiinmigrantes inspirados por Trump que amenazaron a las familias en Florida. Con la inmensa ayuda de nuestros miembros y aliados, luchamos y ganamos, demostrando que los inmigrantes no van a ninguna parte, ¡porque somos Florida!

Seguimos demostrando que los inmigrantes son una fuerza motriz en nuestro estado y que, juntos, tenemos el poder para defendernos. Gracias a los cientos de familias valientes, trabajadores agrícolas, líderes religiosos, estudiantes y miembros de la comunidad que llamaron a sus legisladores y se movilizaron a Tallahassee para compartir sus historias. Aprendimos, lloramos, bailamos y, lo más importante, protegimos a nuestras comunidades.

Agradecemos al Senador Anitere Flores, al Senador René García y al Senador José Javier Rodríguez por defender a nuestra comunidad y salir públicamente en contra de estos proyectos de ley, haciendo que sea imposible para ellos incluso avanzar a través del comité del Senado. También agradecemos a nuestros campeones en la Cámara, incluidos los representantes Al Jacquet, Amy Mercado, Carlos Smith y muchos otros que se pusieron de pie en las reuniones del comité y en el Piso de la Cámara para defender a las familias inmigrantes y nuestros gobiernos locales.

Ha sido un honor trabajar con cada uno de ustedes, y ahora que la sesión legislativa está detrás de nosotros, les pedimos que se mantengan involucrados en la lucha  conectándose con nuestros organizadores. Estamos en un momento crucial que requiere fortalecer nuestra base y construir una amplia coalición de defensores dedicados a proteger nuestras comunidades

Póngase en contacto con sus organizadores locales:

Julio Calderon, Sur de la Florida: sflteam@floridaimmigrant.org
Pamela Gomez, Tampa: pamela@floridaimmigrant.org
Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez, Orlando: isabelsousa@floridaimmigrant.org

Anti-immigrant bill passes House Committee in Florida

En Espanol

Today, the Florida House Judiciary Committee voted in favor (10-7) of anti-immigrant bill HB9, which aims to legalize racial profiling while punishing local municipalities for protecting its residents. Even though a similar bill approved in Texas earlier this year has received national backlash and constitutional concerns, Florida legislators moved forward to threaten public safety and undermine local democracy by bringing Trump’s anti-immigrant policies to our state.

The bill, which was intentionally assigned to only one committee, limiting the opportunities for public comment, and sparking outrage in the community, can be taken up for a final vote on the House floor as early as January 9th the first day of the 2018 Legislative session.

Diverse advocates, led by Immigrant families mobilized to Tallahassee and filled the chambers to give heart-felt testimonies against the immoral and unconstitutional bill. They now turn their eyes to the Senate where reason in years past has prevailed.

The following are statements in response:

“Today we see what the legislature is trying to do to our communities. This bills persecute immigrant families and immigrant communities. They also make local governments job harder when it comes to public safety,” said State Senator José Javier Rodriguez on a press conference after the vote. “This has to end. We need to refocus on actually doing things FOR our communities instead of persecuting them.”

“They want our labor, our tax contributions and our consumer dollars, but they don’t want to recognize us as people with families. Forcing local police and local governments to become immigration agents doesn’t help anyone. In fact, HB9 will force immigrants who are victims of crimes to remain silent out of fear, increasing the distrust between vulnerable communities and law enforcement,” said Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida.”

“Our legislators don’t get tired of trying to criminalize immigrant workers and separate millions of families. But they know we won’t get tired either. We are Florida and we will never accept any attack to our diverse communities, we will always stand together to protect our families and, at the polls, we will remember who stood with us,” says Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Since 2011, the We Are Florida campaign led by the Florida Immigrant Coalition has mobilized and successfully defeated all anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills. Farmworkers, labor unions, students and workers from across the state have pledged to use their voice and power to once again put a stop to anti-immigrant bills that hurt us all.

 

FLORIDA HOUSE TO VOTE ON ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILL

Immigrant families and advocates mobilize to the state’s capitol to speak against anti-immigrant bill, House Bill 9, scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017. Vans will be departing from Hialeah in Miami, Tampa, and Orlando.

Despite the national backlash and constitutional concerns that Texas faced after proposing a similar bill, Florida legislators threaten public safety and undermine local democracy by attempting to bring Trump’s anti-immigrant policies to our state.

“It’s immoral that legislators elected to protect our children, year after year, continue to propose bills that criminalize immigrant workers who are their parents, and cold-heartedly separate families,” said Lourdes Villanueva from Redland Christian Migrant Association and Board Chair of the Florida Immigrant Coalition “HB 9 would have serious human cost but also an economic impact on local industry and municipalities as law enforcement, city or county officers, and even school and college employees are required  to report undocumented immigrants.”

For the 2018 legislative session, the bill was intentionally assigned to only one committee, limiting the opportunities for public comment on it and sparking outrage in the community, especially after several local governments have adopted policies to protect immigrant families from Trump’s deportation machine.  

“We are actively mobilizing and educating immigrants to become conscious and active citizens and voters. We must pay close attention to policies that undermine the power of local government and weaken our democracy.” said Broward County Commissioner Dale Holeness.

Since 2011, the We Are Florida campaign led by the Florida Immigrant Coalition has mobilized and successfully defeated all anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills. Farmworkers, labor unions, students and workers from across the state have pledged to use their voice and power to once again put a stop to anti-immigrant bills that hurt us all.

Thou Shalt Not Steal

By Jeanette Smith, South Florida Interfaith Worker Justice, Member of Florida Wage Theft Task Force 

Today marks one year since Miami-Dade County publicly declared a Day Against Wage Theft. Wage theft, or the nonpayment of wages earned, affects us all. Families suffer when earnings are too low to meet basic needs. Local businesses and economies are denied vital stimulus that would flow from the additional spending of workers had they been paid their earned salaries. Honest businesses are undermined by unscrupulous competitors who practice wage theft. Government at all levels is affected, as they are denied tax revenues generated by higher earnings and when many working families must resort to public programs to survive.

Last year, our County adopted an unprecedented ordinance to protect workers from wage theft, the first one in Florida and model legislation for many other communities throughout the country. Thanks to it, in only one year the County’s Wage Theft Program collected over $350,000 in unpaid wages through conciliation, and since January, over $415,000 has been awarded to workers through administrative hearings.

The victims of wage theft have ranged from construction workers to teachers to home health care workers and others. Claims have been as low as sixty dollars and as high as thousands of dollars. Mayor Carlos Gimenez recently lauded the program as “an effective tool for promoting economic security and dignity”. With the over one million dollars in claims still pending, it is obvious that wage theft is an epidemic in our community.

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