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5 Years of DACA and the Future of TPS

Courtesy: Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami

Last week marked the five-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, which grants protection from deportation to many young immigrants.  In the five years since the announcement of DACA, an estimated 95% of DACA youth and young adults  are either working or attending school, contributing to their local communities and the economy.

On Thursday, the White House announced it would continue to leave the program untouched, maintaining the existing protections from deportation for nearly 800,000 “DREAMers.” While we at the Florida Immigrant Coalition celebrate the news that these young people are receiving the security that should be afforded to them, we remain highly vigilant of our Haitian brothers and sisters who have not been afforded these similar and necessary protections.

Temporary Protective Status (TPS) grants individuals hailing from certain designated countries struck by natural disasters or armed conflict, such as Haiti, with authorization to remain legally in the United States. More than 58,000 Haitians are members of the program, after a disastrous earthquake ravished the island in 2011. TPS allows for recipients to remain in the U.S. with valid work permits until the unrest in their country of origin abates.

While TPS extensions are normally offered for 18 months, the Trump administration disappointingly took the unprecedented step to shorten the duration of their protected status for only another six months. This six-month extension is not enough. The country is currently facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world, with about 40,000 people living in tent homes and makeshift shelters, while facing steep economic and political turmoil.

We encourage the administration to acknowledge the unrealistic term given to Haitian recipients, who are working and making a tangible contribution to our community and economy. Furthermore, we recognize that DACA and TPS fail to provide a plan toward legal integration of these communities to the this country where they have invested so much of their lives, skills, and dreams. True comprehensive immigration reform should comprise a pathway for these communities to realize their full potential as they advance toward citizenship.

Speak to your federal representative today and ask them what they are doing to #SaveTPS 202-224-3121.

1st Anniversary of In-State Tuition in Florida!

My name is Julio Calderon and I am undocumented. I came to the United States when I was 16 years old, and so, I did not benefit from DACA. I went to Highschool never fully believing that College or University was an opportunity for me.

After I graduated, I worked in construction and found my way to Miami Dade College after a counselor helped me apply. But the catch was that I had to pay out of state tuition.

A year ago today, I attended my first year of University and I found myself struggling to pay thousands of dollars solely on tuition fees.

Then something great happened! Florida passed an in-state tuition to allow local undocumented students like me pay the same tuition as our classmates. That’s me in the picture handing a petition to the Governor’s office to sign this law. It really made a difference.

Like myself, there are so many students out there who still believe that going to a College or University is an impossible dream. That’s why my work at FLIC is to make sure that more undocumented students are informed and know that IT IS POSSIBLE to go to school.

If you want to find out more about how to pay in-state tuition in Florida, visit our in-state tuition page or call our hotline at 1-888-600-5762

Julio Calderón, Youth Organizer of the Florida Immigrant Coalition

In-State Tuition_English

GOVERNOR SCOTT, FLORIDA’S IMMIGRANT FAMILIES WANT TO CHASE THEIR DREAMS TOO

Driver’s Licenses and KidCare are among the priorities for Florida’s immigrant families during this legislative session

Gov Scott, State of the State Address, 2015Today, March 3rd, the Florida Legislature kicked-off its 60-day session for 2015. Governor Rick Scott delivered the State of the State Address focusing on Florida being the state where everyone should have the opportunity to chase their dreams.

Governor Scott told the story of Gladys Rubio, a Cuban immigrant that came to Florida for a better life and is now a successful meteorologist.  Just like Gladys, thousands of immigrants have come to Florida chasing their dreams and willing to work hard for them if they are given an opportunity.

For that reason, we call on the Florida legislature to pass legislation that will allow all potential driver’s to apply for a Driver’s License regardless of their immigration status, and for all children who are legal permanent residents to have access to health care through the KidCare program without having to wait 5 years uninsured and unprotected.

What if Gladys Rubio hadn’t had the opportunity to work legally and apply for a driver’s license? Or if her children didn’t have access to quality health care? Unfortunately, that’s the reality of 730,000 undocumented Floridians who cannot apply for a license because of their immigration status, and the reality of over 20,000 children with legal status in Florida who have to wait 5 years before being covered by KidCare.

Florida's Attorney General, Pam Bondi We urge Governor Scott’s administration to support these measures, instead of turning his back on immigrant families just like his own Attorney General Pam Bondi did after she added Florida to a lawsuit against DAPA and DACA. These programs would grant relief from deportation and temporary work permits to 253,000 immigrant Floridians. With this lawsuit, Bondi is breaking Scott’s promise to “keep Florida working” by denying access to temporary work permits for the workers that sustain our main economic sectors, agriculture and tourism. It is estimated that more than half of Florida’s farmworkers are undocumented. If our legislature and Scott need more convincing arguments, numbers won’t lie.

If Florida becomes the 12th state to allow driver’s licenses to potential drivers, it could increase its revenue by an additional $8.76 million annually if half of the undocumented population applies for a license. Our state could also draw up to $49 million from federal funds to cover for Kidcare. Finally, Florida could increase its tax revenues by $102 million over 5 years if DAPA and DACA are implemented.

Pam Bondi wants to deport my mom. Can you help us?

SIGN THE PETITION!

JOSE Palacio AND MOMMy name is Jose Palacios. I came to Tampa, FL, 18 years ago when I was only a boy.

Even though my mom worked very hard to make sure we had everything we needed, for many years we have lived in fear of being deported.

My life changed when Obama announced DACA two years ago, a relief for young immigrants like me. Now the same can happen for my mom with DAPA, a relief for parents. If she gets it, she can live out her dream of starting her own business.

But instead of letting my mom contribute to our state, our Attorney General Pam Bondi is suing Obama’s relief programs!

Join me in telling Pam Bondi: Why do you want to deport my mom and separate thousands of immigrant families in Florida?

AG Pam Bondi added Florida’s name to a lawsuit against DAPA and DACA. And last week, a judge in Texas ruled against the President’s programs and my mom.

Why is Pam Bondi, who grew up in the same city we live in, more interested in slamming the doors shut on my mom than giving her a chance to contribute?

Click here to tell AG Bondi that hardworking immigrants should be welcomed by Florida, not attacked out of politics!

Next Step in Their Journey: a guest blog post by our Citizenship Intern!

Guest post by FLIC intern Derek Centola
University of Miami Senior Political Science and International Studies Double Major
 
FNA Yard SignAnticipation, excitement, and the early morning smell of coffee filled the air of the FIU College of Law the morning of January 26th as a team of eager Florida New Americans volunteers, community organizers, and attorneys gathered to assist the waves of South Florida area Legal Permanent Residents on their path to citizenship.
 
It truly was a great start to 2013 as FLIC continued its citizenship program into its second year of existence. The clinic, a co-sponsorship between FLIC, FIU, and the Univision 23 television station, was a huge success with service to several clients who completed their paperwork, met one-on-one with immigration attorneys, and were prepared to move on to the next step in their journey toward naturalization.
 
FL Dream at FIU LawIn addition to helping clients with citizenship requirements, the January clinic was 2013’s first opportunity to work with the FL Dream campaign. Low-income undocumented youth clientele were assisted with applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). We at FLIC look forward to incorporating this service at future clinics with the help of the other FL Dream campaign organizations SWER, Pico Florida, FIU, and Americans for Immigrant Justice.
 
Moving into February, we are looking forward to our second clinic of the year. This month we will be up in Deerfield Beach at Microcamp, 833 W. Sample Road, from 11am – 3pm on February 23rd. All attendees will receive assistance with filling out the proper US Citizenship and Immigration Service forms, meet one-on-one with a pro-bono attorney to discuss each specific situation, and receive further guidance on becoming a citizen.
 
Can’t make it out in February? No big deal. We have already scheduled our March Citizenship Clinics!  Saturday, March 9th from 11am – 3pm we will be at the American Muslim Community Center at 811 Wilma Street, Longwood, FL 32750.  Saturday,  March 16th from 11am – 3pm we will be at Rollins College at Mills Building, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789.
 

What you can do right now:

FNA Volunteer Latoya at FIU Law

To apply for citizenship, check out our Florida New Americans website to know if you qualify, what documents you need to bring, and to schedule an appointment.
 
To apply for DACA, check out our FL Dream website to know if you qualify what documents you need to bring, and to schedule an appointment.
 
To volunteer at any clinic contact Amber Chaudhry at (305)-571-7254 or amber@floridaimmigrant.org.

Our Citizenship and FLDream legal clinics are back!

FLIC and several partner organizations are starting 2013 with a punch by organizing a major legal clinic in Miami to assist hundreds of legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrant youth in their path to becoming New Americans.

Kersti volunteers at Citizenship ClinicNext Saturday, January 26th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., we will be at FIU College of Law in South Miami with a Florida New Americans citizenship clinic and an FL Dream Deferred Action clinic. There will be dozens of lawyers and volunteers to help legal permanent residents and DREAMers with their applications.

Florida New Americans is a citizenship program launched by FLIC in 2012. Since then, we successfully celebrated 7 citizenship clinics in Downtown Miami, Little Haiti, North Miami, Homestead and Broward, assisting over 1000 permanent residents and finalizing nearly 700 citizenship applications. Saturday’s citizenship clinic is co-sponsored by FIU and Univision 23.

FLDream Undocumented BannerFL Dream is a campaign to help low-income undocumented youth apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), created in mid 2012 by SWER, Pico Florida, FIU, Americans for Immigrant Justice and the Florida Immigrant Coalition. Since then, FL Dream has organized 10 free legal clinics in Miami, Broward and Homestead, helping approximately 4,000 immigrant families and finalizing close to 1,000 applications.

How can you participate?

To apply for citizenship, check out our Florida New Americans website to know if you qualify, what documents you need to bring, and to schedule an appointment.

To apply for DACA, check out our FL Dream website to know if you qualify, what documents you need to bring, and to schedule an appointment.

This will be the first of several Citizenship and FL Dream clinics FLIC and our partners and friends, plan to host in Florida throughout the year.

We’ll keep you posted on new dates and locations.

A Dream Deferred?

By: Vanessa Nuñez, Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER)

Two years ago I remember sitting in my literature class reading Harlem by Langston Hughes and thinking as the DREAM Act had just failed, and my final motion denied in court, will my dreams be deferred?

I graduated from Miami-Dade’s Honors College with a 3.83 GPA, was accepted to all six universities I applied to, and even then, I still could not attend any of them. My dream was being deferred…

After a year of not attending school, and feeling helpless and depressed, June 15th came around and turned my world around!

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)… I knew it was not something permanent, but it was a big step forward! I remember that day coming back from Gainesville and having to re-read all the messages to believe that the announcement was real.

A week ago I found myself filling out the application for the Deferred Action and, though I was very calm, the second I saw myself staring at the square designated for the “applicant signature”, I felt overwhelmed with joy and a sense of accomplishment that no words could describe. With tears filling my eyes I signed the application and completed my packet.

This last Wednesday, I sent my package out to immigration and I am overcome by a sense of relief, freedom, and happiness that I have not felt in a while! But this feeling is not only for a personal reason, but also because I know that my sisters and brothers in the struggle will be feeling this too! I can continue my studies, work, and give back to the community that has invested so much in me. I can freely drive without fear; I can show an ID… simple things that I have longed for a while now, and that now is at my fingertips.

I am ecstatic to say the least, but it does not end here; we must continue to push for the DREAM Act!

A Dream Deferred?… I think not!

Deportation deferred!!

To know more about free legal clinics for DREAMers in South Florida, go to www.fldream.org