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It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm
During FLIC Congress, over 200 members and allies of the grassroots get together for a weekend to share knowledge, learn and strategize on how to advance the rights of immigrants in the State of Florida. In these stormy times, we know we can count on our unity to give us the strength to weather the storm! Anyone can attend. Just bring your passion for immigrant rights and commitment to work for the fair treatment of ALL Floridians, including immigrants.
If you belong to an organization that is a member of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, your organization has the right to VOTE on FLIC’s Strategic Plan for next year. You can also nominate a member of your organization to join our Board of Directors! Do you have someone in mind? We’d love to connect with you further with details about the nomination process. If you are an individual member, you have the right to participate in the General Assembly and all of our capacity building and strategy workshops.
We’re so excited to be joining you for FLIC Congress. Information about elections, transportation options and more to come!
FLIC Congress 2018: Nourishing Our Liberation
Nov. 17 at 11 AM – Nov. 18 at 4 PM
United Methodist Life Enrichment Center
4991 Picciola Rd, Fruitland Park, FL 34731
Más de 200 miembros y aliados nos reunimos por un fin de semana para compartir nuestros conocimientos, aprender y crear estrategias en cómo hacer avances en los derechos de los inmigrantes en el estado de la Florida durante el congreso de La Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida. Sabemos que tenemos que contar con nuestra unión para fortalecernos durante estos tiempos tan inestables. Cualquier persona puede asistir. Solo tiene que traer su pasión para trabajar por los derechos de los inmigrantes y su compromiso a la lucha por el trato justo para todos los Floridianos incluyendo a los inmigrantes.
Si usted pertenece a alguna organización que forma parte de la Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida, su organización tiene el derecho a votar para elegir el nuevo plan estratégico de la coalición para el siguiente año. ¡Usted también puede nominar a un miembro de su organización para que forme parte de la junta directiva! ¿Tiene a alguien en mente? Nos gustaría hablar con usted para darle más información sobre el proceso de nominación. Si usted es un miembro individual, usted tiene el derecho de participar en la Asamblea General y en todos nuestros talleres.
Estamos muy emocionados de que vaya a participar en el congreso de FLIC. ¡Los mantendremos informados sobre las elecciones, transporte y mucho más!
FLIC Congress: Nutriendo Nuestra Liberación
Nov. 17 at 11 AM – Nov. 18 at 4 PM
United Methodist Life Enrichment Center
4991 Picciola Rd, Fruitland Park, FL 34731
Time is running out to file a late re-registration of your TPS! Here’s what you need to know to renew.
Here are the Federal Register Notices with detailed instructions for TPS re-registration for each country. You will also need this letter to show that your current work permit was automatically extended and remains valid despite it’s current expiration date. Remember that you must file your I-821 re-registration (no fee) to keep your Temporary Protected Status protection up to date.
You have the option to pay to order a new work permit with an updated expiration date if you don’t want to carry one with an expired date by filing a I-765 and paying the $495 fees with a money order to the Department of Homeland Security.
Download a sample cover letter for your late re-registration.
Sample Late Re-registration Letter
There is important news for TPS recipients related to recent court battles
The following updates are from Steven Forester of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Due to legal developments in the Ramos court case related to TPS:
- TPS for Haitians will virtually certainly NOT end on July 22, 2019; the government in early March will automatically extend it to approximately January 1, 2020, and quite possibly will do so for another nine months beyond that date, to September, 2020
- Haitians with TPS who didn’t re-register for it in 2017 or 2018 out of fear, confusion, or another good reason can and should seek to reregister now; the gov’t has agreed to give such applications “presumptive weight” as being filed late for good cause—meaning they should be granted and then entitled to the TPS extensions described above/below;
As you know, DHS’s November 2017 decision ending Haiti TPS, with an 18-month grace period set to expire on July 22, 2019, is being challenged in four federal district court suits, including the Ramos litigation in San Francisco. On October 3, Judge Chen in Ramos issued a preliminary injunction (“PI”) in the plaintiffs’ favor, suspending as unconstitutional, while the injunction is in effect, implementation of DHS’s TPS termination decisions for Haiti, El Salvador, Sudan, and Nicaragua.
The U.S. government (“USG”) has appealed Judge Chen’s order to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals but has agreed, while the court’s order is in effect, to certain important measures. These measures are reflected in an October 31 Federal Register Notice (“FRN”) (“Continuation of Documentation for Beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status Designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador”) or in a declaration filed in Ramos by a high-ranking USG official.
These important protective measures include the following:
- Automatic 9 month extensions, starting in April 2019, unless there is a loss at a court of appeals: “DHS will issue another Federal Register Notice approximately 30 days before April 2, 2019, that will extend TPS for an additional nine months from April 2, 2019, for all affected beneficiaries under the TPS designations for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador. DHS will continue to issue Federal Register Notices at nine-month intervals so long as the preliminary injunction remains in place and will continue its commitment to [an] orderly transition period, as described above.” (There’s no way the Ninth Circuit will decide by early March, much less the Supreme Court. So the early March additional Federal Register Notice referenced above will issue.)
- TPS work and legal status will be automatic for those registered—no need to pay for employment authorization cards or further registration: Under the agreement, for as long as the district court’s order is in place, people with TPS who have re-registered previously – or who re-register late – will not need to register again or apply for a new EAD. They can rely on their existing (to-be-expired) EAD or TPS approval notice, as well as the Federal Register Notice, as valid authorization to work or as proof of legal status in the United States. They do not need to pay any further money to the US government, and should not need to pay for additional legal assistance either.
- Re-registration possible—and likely guaranteed—for people who did not re-register during the Trump Administration: Crucially, Haitians with TPS who didn’t reregister in 2017 or 2018 due to fear or other good reason can successfully do so now! If they now reregister for TPS late for good cause, the USG will give their applications “presumptive weight” as being valid! This means that any Haitian TPS recipient who failed to reregister in 2017 or 2018 should be successful in doing so now — late — if they explain that they didn’t reregister on time due to fear, confusion, or other good reason. (This is extremely important for example for the estimated nearly 16,000 Haitians with TPS who let their TPS status lapse early this year by not trying to reregister!)
- No new terminations for these countries for now: The USG will not try to write new TPS termination notices for Haiti or the three other nations while the court’s orderremains valid.
- At least 6 months additional protection even if there is a loss at a higher court: “In the event the preliminary injunction is reversed and that reversal becomes final, DHS will allow for an orderly transition period,” which effectively amounts to about six months from the date of any such hypothetical future final, non-appealable order. This means that – if the district court’s order is overturned on appeal (at the court of appeals or the Supreme Court), the earliest that TPS holders from these countries could lose their legal status is about 6 months after the appeals court’s decision.
Florida’s Legislative sessions comes to an end as Immigrant rights advocates celebrate the defeat of all anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills proposed. The 2017 session marks one of the most aggressive sessions with 9 Trump-Inspired bills ranging from the criminalization of immigrant by raising the penalties solely based on the person’s immigration status, to punishing city and counties for wanting to protect all of their residents.
The We Are Florida! campaign led by the Florida Immigrant Coalition and its members maintained constant presence, mobilizing hundreds of community members to the state’s capitol to remind legislators of the collective power of immigrants, workers, women and LGBT members .
“In a moment where hatred and discrimination is being normalized, our immigrant, Muslim and communities of colors stood together fighting back nine bills seeking to criminalize our families and legalize racial profiling in Florida,” said Francesca Menes, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Time and time again, we see our very own Latino State Representatives selling out their own voters and supporting hateful legislation which has been legally challenged on constitutional grounds, and the courts continue to affirm local governments not being required to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.”
One of the most highly debated bills, HB697, threatened local democracy by stripping power away from local governments to protect its residents, threatening to withhold state funding and forcing a state-wide ban of sanctuary cities. The final party-line vote of 76 in favor to 41 against happened just days after a court blocked Trump’s executive order to withhold funds from Sanctuary Cities.
“We find hypocritical for Latino legislators to claim to be proud of their heritage while allowing anti-immigrant legislation to progress in the state legislature and they will be held accountable,” said Daniel Barajas, Executive Director for the Young American Dreamers. “YAD continues to stand with other organizations across the state as we show these elected officials that our communities are not alone, and we’ll help them fight for the American dream.”
“It is good news that anti-immigrant bills did not pass this session but that does not excuse those representatives that voted for HB 697 in the House. We will remember, and continue the fight to recognize the full human rights of the immigrant community,” said Miguel Bernal, Vice President of WeCount! and FLIC board member.
Organizations involved in the We Are Florida! Campaign, pledged to work to educate and mobilize voters to ensure legislators closely reflect the needs of their communities.
The We Are Florida! campaign report is now available. Click HERE to read the full report.
During the 2017 Florida Legislative Session over 9 anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills were introduced. Within several of days of entering office, the 45th President, Trump signed executive orders on increasing border security, increasing interior immigration enforcement, threatening to withhold federal funding from states and localities who do not enforce federal immigration laws, and a Muslim travel ban. In Florida, House Bill (HB) 697 and Senate Bill (SB) 786, which were filed by Representative Larry Metz and Senator Aaron Bean, made similar attempts targeting “sanctuary jurisdictions,” threatening to withhold state funds from municipalities, remove elected officials from office, and enforce daily penalties upwards of $5,000 for localities who do not repeal their “sanctuary” policies.
This session, with the support of coalition members, allies and through grassroots advocacy efforts, We Are Florida! successfully defeated all nine anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills that attempted criminalize immigrants in Florida and separate our families. This report provides an overview of the bills that the We Are Florida! campaign worked on during the 2017 Legislative Session in conjunction with Florida Immigrant Coalition, its members and allies. Click HERE to read the full report.
The Florida Sheriff’s Association statements on April 4th, 2017 addressing the weekly list issued by the Trump administration of law enforcement agencies that have rejected Immigrant Detainer requests made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, correctly keep their focus on public safety and not immigration enforcement. In their own words:
“Sheriffs have to follow the law. And we are being asked to do something by the federal government that at least nine – nine – federal courts have said we can’t do,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said
“We support and cooperate with ICE with their efforts to identify and deport criminal aliens,” Orange County Sheriff and FSA president, Jerry Demings concluded. “However, we also swear under oath to protect, support and defend the U.S. Constitution. And that really is what we sheriffs intend to do.”
In response, Jill Hanson, J.D., Board Chair for the Florida Immigrant Coalition stated:
“The Department of Homeland Security does not have the legal authority to force local law enforcement agencies to illegally hold immigrants that otherwise would be free to return to their families. We are glad to see the Florida Sheriffs Association take a clear stand.
ICE Detainer requests are unconstitutional–period. They have been challenged in courts across our nation and most recently ruled as unconstitutional by a local judge in Miami. Florida Sheriffs are the latest in the growing voices clearly saying they won’t be intimidated into becoming a pawn for Trump’s immoral and costly mass deportation force.
Immigrant families need to know that they are safe to report a crime, whether they are the victim or a witness, and have the reassurance that cooperating with law enforcement will not lead to their family being torn apart.“
After a 7 point magnitude earthquake killed 250,000 people in Haiti and quasi destroyed Haiti’s infrastructure on January 12, 2010, President Obama approved Temporary Protected Status (TPS ) for Haitians to allow them to stay in the U.S and to help Haiti recover. Over 6 years later, Haiti has yet to recover. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew wrecked havoc in the country. More than 700 people were killed, and the entire South peninsula was destroyed. Most of the crops were wiped out, resulting in a serious case of food insecurity and daily deaths as a result of severe malnutrition. Haiti is also still struggling to recover from the world’s most significant imported cholera outbreak, with an estimated 30,000 cases expected this year, as well as the effects of the January 2010 earthquake, with tens of thousands of people still camping in tents without proper sanitation.
“TPS is up for renewal on July 22, 2017 and 50,000 anxious Haitians are holding their breath as they await the decision by the Department for Homeland Security (DHS). It is sad because in addition to worrying about the horrible situation of famine in Haiti, now family members in the U.S. are basically dying of fright, wondering what the Trump administration will do about TPS. Haiti is in no condition to absorb immigrants from the U.S. right now,” said Marleine Bastien, Executive Director of FANM (Haitian Women of Miami).
Extending TPS for another 18 months is in the United States’ national interest because on top of a multitude of problems – cholera, Hurricane Matthew aftereffects, years of political instability and turmoil – it would destabilize Haiti to deport 58,000 people and, in doing so, also instantly cut off remittances to hundreds of thousands of loved ones in Haiti. Haiti is in no position either to safely absorb an additional 58,000 persons, nor to make up for the remittances that would be curtailed.
Due to a plethora of natural disasters that have struck Haiti over the last few years and current political instability in the country, the S. Florida community will come together to urge President Trump to address the country’s growing humanitarian crisis and renew T.P.S.
On March 27, 2017, the West Palm Beach City Council will be issuing a resolution to demonstrate its commitment to welcoming immigrants and refugees, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity and country of origin.
Jill Hanson, Board member of the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Palm Beach County Coalition for Immigrant Justice, released the following statement:
“West Palm Beach has taken a courageous first step in making immigrants feel welcome, showing that the City Commission is willing to do what it takes to protect West Palm Beach families from living in constant fear. With this resolution, West Palm Beach is putting the safety of our communities ahead of politics and we are thankful to the City Commission and Mayor Jeri Muoio for their leadership.”
Afifa Khaliq, communications director at SEIU FPSU, added, “We urge all the cities and counties in South Florida, and across the state, to stand firm against any threats to our vibrant immigrant communities. This is not the time to crumble and give in to questionable executive orders that may not even be constitutional. Thankfully, West Palm Beach is proving resilient against this toxic wave of hateful rhetoric. We applaud their bravery on this day and look forward to their next steps in the fight to welcome and protect all West Palm Beach residents.”
The decision by West Palm Beach officials to support immigrant families, regardless of status, comes on the heels of similar votes of support by leaders in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg and Broward County.
This resolution is in sharp contrast to Miami-Dade County, where County Commissioners agreed with Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s decision to capitulate to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order mandating that localities hold undocumented immigrants for the federal government at taxpayer expense.
Dozens of parents, children and community leaders packed Miami Dade County Public School (M-DCPS) headquarters on Tuesday, March 15, to urge the School Board to strongly reaffirm its commitment to immigrant students and families, regardless of immigration status.
“We have to prevent and protect our immigrant families from being separated,” said 10-year old Jasmine Lopez, member of American Friends Service Committee in Miami and U.S. citizen whose mother is a DACA recipient. “Our people didn’t come here to harm anybody, they came to give their children a better life.”
In the end, the School Board unanimously voted to pass Board Member Lubby Navarro’s resolution so that there would be no doubt from parents and staff that M-DCPS schools are safe havens. The measure would also review current laws and district policies to determine what else the district can do to protect undocumented immigrant students.
M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho was clear that he saw the measure as a continuation of policies and actions that school administrators had traditionally held on the issue, including sending a recent letter to President Donald Trump and Congressional leaders supporting immigrant children and families. However, he was more than happy to repeat the position several times before, during and after the meeting to reassure community members of his personal commitment to the issue.
“On behalf of every single kid in this community, over my dead body will any federal entity enter our schools to take immigration actions against our kids,” Carvalho told reporters after the vote.
Assembled parents and advocacy groups appreciated the efforts.
“We thank the superintendent and school board for their continuous support and leadership to protect immigrant families in Miami Dade. The implementation of all policies in place to protect our immigrant youth will be crucial in ensuring that all immigrant youth have access to an education and a learning environment that is free of fear. We look forward to working together for the safety of immigrant students and their families.” Julio Calderon organizer for the Florida Immigrant Coalition
Community residents came in concerned that the School Board was potentially dragging their feet on providing a strong concrete directives for teachers and school administrators that reassures families that local schools will become not part of aggressive federal efforts to deport students and parents. While school officials had been meeting for several weeks on the issue, community organizations and advocates were brought in late to the process, sparking fears that the M-DCPS Board would do little to fail to produce a concrete plan to protect families, as was done several weeks ago in Broward County.
“Life for immigrant communities under the current [federal] administration has not easy and for many of us, it will continue to get worse. We appreciate all steps taken to work together to protect our families and especially our children, who are witnessing the horrors of Trump’s Deportation Force.” Maria Bilbao organizer from United We Dream.
Meetings and conversations over the last several days had helped address some of those initial fears and have provided language directing schools to collaborate with parents and community groups on the issues. Still, with no clear steps outlined as to how this collaboration would occur, some wondered how they would hope to hold school officials accountable to the promises made to them and their children.
“I stand in solidarity with all immigrant communities. I have a 7 year old son who is in first grade. We are all documented and my child has come on multiple occasions asking me “what is going to happen to my friends who weren’t born here.” They are having this conversations at 7 years old. I am here because I am anxious about what is happening in our country. Parents need to be reassured that their children will be protected.” Karla Hernandez-Mats, President of united teaches of Dade
Superintendent Carvalho strongly emphasized to the Board and attending parents that current policies in place support the traditional role of Miami Dade Public Schools as safe havens that protect students and their parents, regardless of status. He hoped that both the meeting and the publicity surrounding the issue would help educate those who might be too scared to know their rights and options.
“The fact that you are having this conversation may actually inspire parents or children who may have fears with the opportunity to actually approach their principal or counselor,” said the superintendent to his remarks to the Board. “Schools are safe havens. They can ask any question of us. We shall not ask a question of them, but if asked we are ready to provide information and provide support.”
See the Superintendents full comments here.
Parents and community groups all over Florida have been asking their school officials to publicly support students and families with practical solutions that help them cope with the increased strain that aggressive federal law enforcement tactics are having on immigrants, regardless of status, is having on students in school and at home.
Last week, the Broward County School Board voted unanimously to become the first school district in Florida to designate itself an inclusive, safe and welcoming district and mandated that schools work with parents to create a “Safe Plan” that would prepare them in case they or loved ones are targeted for deportation. While the measure is noteworthy because of the current political climate, it falls well within the supportive role that schools have traditionally played around immigration. Courts have long held that public schools are legally obligated to provide all students from K-12 access to an education regardless of their immigration status. Immigration enforcement officials have also have sensitive location memos in place that do not allow them to target schools, hospitals, churches, funerals and public demonstrations.
“How we treat our children is a reflection of us. It defines the future that we have,” Broward County Superintendent Robert W. Runcie said just before the measure was passed. “The stand that we are taking here today not only sends a message to our students and our community that our schools are a safe haven for them, but it also sends a message about how they ought to view the world and how they needs to respect, celebrate and tolerate other culture. [If] we try to model love and compassion, it will move into the next generation.”
During a powerful and emotional Broward County School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 7th, a packed room of parents, community residents and faith leaders sporting orange ribbons spoke in defense of immigrant children and families. During the widely-attended meeting, which took place at County Board headquarters at the Kathleen C. Wright Administration Building (600 S.E. 3rd Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301), the School Board unanimously approved a measure designating the Broward School District an inclusive, safe and welcoming district that protects all children and mandates that schools to work with parents to create a “Safe Plan” that would prepare them in case they or loved ones are targeted for deportation.
“This is a huge victory for all students,” said Broward parent Mica Jordan. “When you go to school, the last thing that should be on your mind is whether or not your family will be intact when you get off [the bus].”
The resolution passed at a time of great turmoil in the immigrant community, when immigrant activists are being targeted and immigrant families are being torn apart, living in fear of raids and deportation. In nearby Palm Beach, the School Superintendent declared his county’s schools “safe harbors from raids.” Meanwhile in Miami-Dade, a judge just shot down a detention policy the county adopted to follow Trump’s deportation order in the face of widespread community opposition to the President’s threats to withdraw funding to localities that are supported of undocumented communities.
“It’s a big win for the immigrant community,” said Roberto Benavides of Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER). “It means that kids are going to be protected and that they are going to be able to just be kids — focus on their education, their extracurricular actives and be a part of their communities.”
“How we treat our children is a reflection of us. It defines the future that we have,” said Broward County Superintendent Robert W. Runcie just before the final vote. “The stand that we are taking here today not only sends a message to our students and our community that our schools are a safe haven for them, but it also sends a message about how they ought to view the world and how they needs to respect, celebrate and tolerate other culture. [If] we try to model love and compassion, it will move into the next generation.”
Francesca Menes, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Florida Immigrant Coalition, agreed with Runcie, saying that she hopes that the resolution, the first supportive school board statement of its kind in the state of Florida, is one that reverberates in Tallahassee.
“On this first day of the Florida legislative session, our leadership in Broward sent a strong message to other elected officials that our immigrant children and families are an important part of our communities, regardless of their immigration status,” said Menes. “As anti-immigration bills circulate in Tallahassee, officials should take a moment to consider that at the local level, leaders recognize the contributions of immigrants and that every child has a right to live and learn without the constant fear of losing a parent due to being deported or detained.”
Parents, teachers and clergy went into the afternoon sharing personal experiences of how President Donald Trump’s Executive Orders targeting all immigrants, regardless of status, was having on students in school and at home. What community members needed from school officials was a firm commitment to protect them against aggressive immigration enforcement that is sweeping many communities in the nation.
“Unless everyone is told that the educational setting is a protected space, parents fearful of being deported on the way to school may keep students at home and we all know how crucial regular attendance is to learning,” said retired elementary school Assistant Principal Cindy Johnson, a 15-year veteran of the school district. “I personally know how seriously school staff takes your directives. I am sure that when you reiterate to them that the district is welcoming and is a protected space for all students regardless of immigration status, religion or country of origin, they will take this to heart and work tirelessly to ensure that their students feel their reassurance. They need to know that those in charge of the District strongly support this inclusive position.”
Board members tried to find a balance, wanting to show leadership on the issue while not overstepping their authority so as to make any actions reversible by other government agencies. Courts have long held that public schools are legally obligated to provide all students from K-12 access to an education regardless of their immigration status. Enforcement officials had previously been instructed in memos not to target schools, hospitals, churches, funerals and public demonstrations, though recent arrests and deportations of activists like DACA-recipient Daniela Vargas, who was targeted after leaving a news conference, have left the immigrant activist community terrified.
Ultimately, Board Members were swayed by the diverse voices who encouraged officials to not just protect students at school, but any place where education-related activities were being held. Broward School members were attentive and School Board Member Donna P. Korn offered an amendment expanding the original resolution to include bus stops, extracurricular activities like team sports and even special occasions like proms and graduations.
School Board Member Robin Bartleman, who proposed the amendment, rejoiced with fellow Broward residents after it passed. “I want to say thank you to this community for coming out and making it easy to do the right thing. I love Broward County.”
Community Access Center CEO Magaly Prezeau echoed many community service providers in telling the board how proud and thankful she was in their proactive approach to the issue. “Our families, especially Haitian families, are very scared and are really worried about sending their kids to school. They have even begun sending them to school with copies of their immigration papers in case they’re stopped in the street,” said Prezeau. “But today, you told them that they were important. That they are a protected part of our community. Thank you for passing this resolution and for being champions for our voiceless immigrant children.”