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Join the Florida Caravan for Immigration Reform “Making the Road to Citizenship”

Say Yes Launch MiamiFrom March 1 to the 10th, undocumented families, farmworkers and Dreamers will travel throughout Florida to raise awareness about the importance of an Immigration Reform that keeps our families together and provides a real and inclusive path to citizenship.

We will be sharing our immigration stories, talking about how our current immigration system has affected our lives and separated millions of families, and about why we need a new immigration system. Along the road, we will join rallys, farmworkers in the fields, and important cultural events.

Check out the itinerary, get on your car and JOIN US! Together we can make the road to citizenship!

Friday, March 1st

Orlando, 11 AM: Rally with Rep. Alan Grayson and Rep. Luis Gutierrez who came all the way from Illinois to stand with Floridians in asking for Immigration Reform now. See more info

Haines City, 3 PM: Join the Farmworker Association of Florida, Congressmen Alan Grayson and Luis Gutierrez for the official kick-off of the Florida Caravan. See more info

Saturday, March 2nd

Immokalee, 2 PM: We will visit the Farmworker Association of Florida to join their leadership assembly. 321 N first St Immokalee, FL 34142

Sunday, March 3rd

Fellsmere, 2 PM: Community Assembly with the Farmworkers Association. We will be at 18 S Orange St Fellsmere, FL 2PM

Fort Pierce, 4:00 PM: We will visit the Latin American Coalition of the Treasure Coast for a cultural event. We will be at 2300 Virginia Ave

Monday, Match 4th

Apopka, 12:00 PM: Press Conference with the Farmworkers Association at 1264 Apopka Blvd, Apopka, FL

Apopka, 7:00 PM: Community Townhall. 1264 Apopka Blvd, Apopka, FL

Tuesday, March 5th

Lakeland, 1 PM: Press Conference at Cong. Dennis Ross’ Office. 170 Fitzgerald Road, Lakeland, FL
Plant City, 7 PM: Community Townhall with Farmworkers at 1104 N Alexander St, Plant City, FL

Wednesday, March 6th

Tampa, 12 PM: Press Conference at Senator Marco Rubio’s office. 3802 Spectrum Boulevard, Tampa
Dade City, 6 PM: Community Town Hall with farmworkers at 37240 Lock St, Dade City

Thursday, March 7th

Venice, 1 PM: The Florida Caravan will join a Farmworkers’ March organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to demand fair treatment to farmworkers and immigration reform to keep their families together. 5800 S Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL

Sebring, 6 PM: Community Townhall with Farmworkers at 4507 George Blvd., Sebring

Friday, March 8th

Belle Glade, 12 PM: Lunch with farmworkers at 7450 HWY 15, Belle Glade
West Palm Beach, 6 PM: The Palm Beach community is organizing a cultural event with music and DJs to receive the caravan, at El Pollo Granjero, 1905 S Military Trail, West Palm Beach. Check out their promotional video here

Saturday, March 8th

Florida City – Homestead, 5 PM: Join WeCount! and the Farmworkers Association in a march down Krome Ave. Starting Point: 450 W Davis Pkwy, Florida City, FL 33034.

Sunday, March 10th

Miami, 2 PM: GRAND FINALE at the Calle 8 Festival! Hundreds will walk toward Calle 8 and will join thousands of Latinos to celebrate our culture. The meeting point is St. Michael Church at 2987 W Flagler St. See more info

Supreme Court Says Yes to Racial Profiling, For Now

Floridians will keep fighting Arizonification until it is history

The Supreme Court today spoke out of both sides of its mouth. It declared without question that states’ attempts to take away the Federal Government’s job of immigration enforcement are unconstitutional. But it also let the “show me your papers” provisions of SB 1070, temporarily stay on the books in Arizona and other states with an SB 1070 copycat.

“The Supreme Court hasn’t completely decided if it wants to be on the right side of history,” says Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “But at least it didn’t allow the politicians that preach hate and support Jim Crow’s cousin, Juan Crow, to completely trample on the Constitution.”

The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the provisions in Arizona’s SB 1070 that made it a state crime to be undocumented and/or working without status. It also declared unconstitutional the provision that allowed warrantless arrests of undocumented immigrants.  While not declaring it constitutional, the Supreme Court allowed the “show me your papers” provisions to temporarily stand while they are still being fought on civil rights ground in the lower courts. Here is a very good breakdown of the ruling and other information about Arizona’s SB1070. 

“Like we saw in the legal battles against segregation, it took almost 60 years for the Supreme court to decide that Jim Crow was wrong. We will continue fighting anti-immigrant, anti-American and pro-racial profiling laws with full confidence that our Courts will come to their senses,” adds Rodriguez.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition, along with other members and allies throughout the state, led the “We are Florida” campaign that in 2011 mobilized thousands of every-day Floridians to successfully defeat the legislature’s attempt to bring an SB 1070 copycat law to the Sunshine state. The opposition to these bills that would hurt Florida’s economy and communities, also included business owners, growers, elected officials and religious leaders, among others.

“Racial profiling is already an epidemic. The failure to recognize ‘show me your papers’ provisions as unconstitutional will deepen the crisis and undermine our safety,” concludes Rodriguez. “We are building a social movement, naturalizing, registering and voting to end racism and exclusion in Florida and in throughout the country.”

In Florida, we put people before politicians

By: Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director from the Florida Immigrant Coalition 

Via Huffington Post

We are often told that Republicans don’t care about immigrants or working people. They only care about the 1 percent. Democrats, on the other hand, truly want what is best for both. If that is the case, then these are strange times in South Florida.

On Thursday, I attended a protest in front of Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s offices in Aventura. Rep. Wasserman Schultz is the chair of the Democratic National Committee and one of the most powerful Democrats in D.C. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), on the other hand, is the powerful private prison company trying to build the largest for-profit immigrant detention center in a sleepy town in Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s district known as Southwest Ranches. Opposition to the facility is so overwhelming that only a few people have voiced support for it in any poll, town hall meeting or public hearing on the issue. It is not just immigrant rights activists opposing either, but people from all walks of life like the environmentalist Sierra Club, the ball-playing resident Udonis Haslem, the DREAM ACT-defying former Senator George Lemieux, the ACLU and thousands of others.

You would think that the democratic thing for Rep. Wasserman Schultz to do, in the face of such overwhelming opposition, would be to take a stand against the center. Instead, she has spent the last year doubling down for CCA, while refusing to meet with constituents.

A day before the Aventura rally, high school valedictorian Daniela Pelaez attended a press conference hosted by Republican Rep. David Rivera. Earlier this year, Daniela’s name brought national attention and thousands of people into the streets to stop her from being deported. This time, however, she wasn’t at the press conference to protest, but to stand, albeit lonely-looking, with the controversial congressman as he unveiled his DREAM ACT alternative. Rivera’s STARS ACT would allow some College-going undocumented youth a chance to stay in the country, but with so many restrictions that only a few could actually benefit.

The STARS ACT is not without controversy. Some immigrant communities think it reeks of opportunism, while others see it as the best opportunity for a better future. But considering that Rivera has caught more headlines for being under investigation by the FBI, IRS and other acronym-ed agencies, a DREAM Act alternative is probably the least controversial thing attached to his name.

Two days, two different events; one in which immigrants are joined by Not-In-My-Back-Yard residents to protest a nominally popular Democratic rep’s support for an unquestionably unpopular detention center; and another, where a respected undocumented student stands by a Republican rep. as he unveils a piece of immigration legislation that some immigrant students sort of like.

What is happening in South Florida?

Well, we have a Democratic president who seems sympathetic to our issues until he deports a record number of our loved ones. He is not helped when he has a DNC chair who talks a good game about supporting working families but then stands with one of the worst 1 percent corporations (CCA) against the working families in her district.

Immigrants, Latinos and working people have seen how far our loyalty has taken us, and we are not impressed. We are so not impressed that some of us will stand with anyone who is putting out a proposal, alleged ethics violations or not, while others won’t hesitate to voice our opposition to a proposed facility no matter how popular the Congresswoman that supports it is. For those of us who have lived the issues we fight for every day, what politicians do is more important than what they say.

No matter what, we will never put politicians before the best interest of our communities. The tears and fears we feel daily give us the courage and clarity to hold all accountable, even those who claim to be our friends, from both parties.