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MAY DAY – Join Us and Stand Against Hate and Racism

May 1st marks the International Workers’ Day, a historic day when workers and migrants join forces to demand dignity and justice. We must come together now more than ever and stand up to the hateful rhetoric spreading across our nation. A multiracial coalition of immigrant rights organizations, faith leaders, labor unions and local activists and artists are organizing a rally and march in Miami and we encourage all members to participate. Details for the May Day March in Miami event can be found below.
Are you having a local event on May 1st that FLIC can support?

Are you interested in attending the Miami May 1st event?

Please let us know of any May Day events around you so we can provide support or coordinate travel arraignments for those interested in attending the Miami event.


Miami Rally and March

Sunday, May 1st from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
March starts at Government Center (111 NW First Street Miami, Florida 33128) and ends at the Torch of Friendship (401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

MAYDAY flyer ENG


El 1ro de Mayo marca el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores, un día histórico en el que trabajadores y migrantes se unen para exigir dignidad y justicia. Debemos unirnos ahora más que nunca y levantarnos en contra de la retórica de odio que actualmente está contaminando  nuestra nación . Una coalición multirracial de organizaciones Incluyendo grupos pro inmigrantes, líderes religiosos, sindicatos, activistas locales y artistas están organizando una manifestación y marcha en Miami e invitamos a todos los miembros a participar. Los detalles de la Marcha del Día del Trabajador en Miami pueden ser encontrados en la parte de abajo de este correo electrónico.

¿Tienes un evento local el 1 de mayo que FLIC puede apoyar?

¿Estás interesado en asistir a la Marcha de 1ro de Mayo en Miami?

Por favor déjenos saber de cualquier evento del Primero de Mayo alrededor de su área para que podamos ofrecer apoyo o coordinar viajes para las personas interesadas en asistir a el evento de Miami.

Manifestación y Marcha en Miami
Domingo, 1ro de Mayo de 2:00 a 4:00 p.m.
La Marcha empezara en el Government Center (111 NW First Street Miami, Florida 33128) y terminará en la Antorcha de la Amistad (401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

MAYDAY flyer SPA

We Are Florida! 2016 Campaign and Legislative Session Wrap Up

We Are Florida!

This year, a total of 9 anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills threatened families in the state of Florida.  It was the  participation and commitment of our members and allies that defeated all 9 bills, and once again led We Are Florida! to victory. Thank you to the thousands of immigrant families, farmworkers, faith leaders, and voters who signed petitions, visited or called their legislators, led local actions and mobilized to Tallahassee to share their stories. We have proven time and time again that when we stand together for what’s right, we are powerful.


We also celebrate the passing of KidCare, which after nearly 10 years of advocating in support, will finally help thousands of  permanent resident children who will no longer have to wait 5 years to  access to health care. We must be cautiously enthusiastic as we await for Governor Scott to sign this bill into law.

We thank Senator Diaz de la Portilla for standing up for our community and stopping these bills from moving in the Senate. We also thank our champions in the House, including Representative Jose Javier Rodriguez, Representative Hazelle Rogers and many others, who stood up in committee meetings and on the House Floor to defend immigrant families and our local governments.


With the legislative session now over, our voter engagement and education programs will launch and gain momentum. We ask for your continuous support as we take on the challenges leading up to November. We have a responsibility to hold our elected officials accountable and to continue to fight for dignity and justice for our loved ones.

We Are Florida! Nou Se Florid! Somos Florida!

We Work, We Vote, We Count!

Nou Travay, Nou Vote, Nou Konte!

Nosotros Trabajamos, Nosotros Votamos, Nosotros Contamos!

We Are Florida!

To see all the pictures from the 2016 We Are Florida! campaign, check out our Facebook Page.

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.

We Stand Together—Black and Brown—for the Youth in Chicago and Central America

Last week The Root’s Keli Goff wrote about the child refugees fleeing violence and poverty in Central America and seeking refuge at our border. Unfortunately, she argued that we shouldn’t protect these brown children, and supports deporting them—while claiming that we have our own black children to care about first, citing recent violence in the streets of Chicago.

An immigration-reform supporter marches in the Rally for Citizenship on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2013.  SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGESWell, we are those black and brown children she’s talking about.
One of us—Phillip—grew up in the same Chicago that Goff says she wants to protect, while the other—Isabel—is a young immigrant who came to this country as an undocumented child fleeing violence in Colombia. And in our life journeys seeking justice for all young people, we have committed ourselves to building united social movements that fervently proclaim, “Our lives matter.”
Every one of our lives matters, whether we are black, white or brown, queer or straight; whether we crossed the border or our ancestors came here as indentured servants or on slave ships.
We reject the notion that black lives should matter to our president and policymakers while the lives of the unaccompanied child refugees fleeing devastation in Central America shouldn’t. Because in both cases, they’re surviving or fleeing violence rooted in our own failed policies, like the so-called war on drugs.
In fact, young people across this country are suffering because most of our politicians do not act as if any of our lives matter. If they did, education would be a primary investment over the failed foreign and domestic policies that have only contributed to our criminalization. If our lives mattered, America’s immigration policy would prioritize family safety and unity instead of prioritizing border militarization and profits for the private prison industry.
In the 1980s, families fleeing Central American civil wars between guerrillas and U.S.-backed dictators landed in cities like Los Angeles. Youths who had just witnessed the horrors of war in their home countries now faced the reality of America’s streets during the height of the war on drugs. Many joined gangs feeling that they had no other recourse to protect themselves.
Instead of being treated as if their lives and their trauma mattered, these young people were deported back to countries where the only people they knew were other young gang members. As a number of researchers have observed, the U.S. deportation regime helped turn two small street gangs started by young refugees into transnational criminal organizations operating across Central America with partners in the U.S., eventually creating the ripples of refugees we continue to see today.
The story of young African Americans on the South Side of Chicago is not that different. Since the early 1900s, black families had fled the lynching and racial violence of the Jim Crow South, only to be met with redlining, unemployment and refined racial segregation in Chicago. Without adequate jobs and political power, many young people who had witnessed the horrors of Jim Crow also began forming gangs to protect themselves from the violence of a society that continued to degrade them as either criminal or cheap labor.
Instead of being offered adequate education and opportunities to thrive, these young people were subject to mass incarceration. The criminal justice system, also fueled by the war on drugs, turned Chicago’s small street gangs into national organizations by releasing inmates into a society with no adequate infrastructure for their reintegration and rehabilitation.
Both of these groups—and the youth across this nation—rely on policymakers and our president to prove to them that their lives do, in fact, matter.
And as José Luis Vilson, writing for The Rootalso noted last week, deporting child refugees who are victims of the same failed policies will never reopen even one of the 50 schools that the president’s former chief of staff, and current Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel has closed. Believing this lie only caters to the whims of pandering politicians.
As young people who have grown tired of politicians pitting us against each other, we stand together here in Florida to build up our collective power. Our communities are not pawns to be picked up and maneuvered whenever it fits political strategy. Our work and our vision are not anchored to the politics of scarcity that are perpetuated by those who live in abundance.
We will not be divided. We will continue fighting together—from Chicago’s South Side to the Gaza Strip to Central America’s Northern Triangle—holding accountable all who help to line the pockets of those who profit from our suffering.
Phillip Agnew is executive director of Dream Defenders and Isabel Sousa-Rodriguez is youth organizer for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.
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New American helps future new Americans: an FNA guest post

Guest blog post for Florida New Americans by Renata Castro.

Renata Castro and FLIC

I don’t know if it was the fever from the flu that was about to take over me, or my sheer excitement of being part of something greater, but as a law student at Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad School of Law, and as a board member of the Immigration Law Organization at NSU Law, I was truly humbled by this amazing opportunity to volunteer at one of FLIC’s Citizenship drives.

When you become a law student, the process of studying law and memorizing an inhuman amount of rules, laws, and codes, can make you jaded about the profession and challenge your conviction on how much you can really help with a law degree.

Renata and Isabel, FNA volunteers

 

As a participant in FLIC’s citizenship clinic, I got “feverish” (I could not resist the take on words) about the positive impact a passionate and qualified immigration lawyer can have in their community. I felt honored as many individuals sat in front on me, and trusted me with their questions, and with their lives.

More humbling was the fact that they trusted me, my almost done legal training, our supervising attorneys, and the staff at FLIC, with being a part of each individual’s American Dream.  I should know. A little over two years ago, I became a US citizen myself.  It was a life-changing turning point in my life, and I couldn’t help feeling ecstatic about sharing the beginning of this moment with others.

FNA with State Representative Gwyn Clarke-ReedI also got the chance to meet with other community leaders, such as State Representative Gwyn Clarke-Reed, and the president of the Brazilian American Democratic Club, Isabel dos Santos, as well as the amazing staff at FLIC, Amber, Diana, Krystina.

I am looking forward to being a volunteer in the upcoming citizenship clinic on April 20th, and, hopefully, my fever this time will only be for the immigration cause!

Will Senator Rubio show us some love?

After all political spin subsided on Sen. Marco Rubio’s response to the State of the Union Address, we may have missed a noteworthy moment for our nation and our state.

Senator Marco RubioThe moment Senator Rubio, the Cuban son of a bartender and a domestic worker, with sweat rolling down his temple and water quenching his thirst, became the first Latino to address the nation, he became living testimony of what is possible when New Americans are given a chance to fully belong, keep their families together, and have equal opportunity to citizenship. This was particularly poignant as he responded to our nation’s President, the son of a Kenyan immigrant. A snapshot of the New America.

If only all new or aspiring Americans could have the same opportunity. Rubio’s story may have turned out differently if his parents had faced deportation as so many families do today. As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, send a message to Sen. Rubio and your Member of Congress asking them to show our families some love by supporting a new and better immigration system that works equally for all, and not just for some.

Today, there are thousands of Floridian families waiting in the shadows for the same opportunity, suffering at the hands of the most expensive immigration enforcement in our history while waiting in line for decades to be reunited with their families. All families should have the same opportunity to climb the ladder of the American Dream from the bottom-up, just like the Rubio family did.

Send your message to Sen. Rubio and your Member of Congress, and ask them to SAY YES to a real and inclusive roadmap to citizenship for ALL families, ask them to SAY YES to Florida. Share your family story as new or old immigrants.

It’s time for them to hear our stories:

http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50599/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9581

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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 

LA MEJOR DECISIÓN. Inmigrantes de la Florida aplauden la decisión del Presidente Obama de detener las deportaciones de jóvenes inmigrantes.

El presidente Obama anunció hoy la decisión de dar alivio administrativa a los jóvenes inmigrantes, deteniendo inmediatamente las deportaciones y brindando una oportunidad de aplicar para un permiso de trabajo temporal. Esta decisión llega después de casi una década de presión por parte de los jóvenes y las familias inmigrantes en todo el país que han estado pidiendo a nuestro gobierno protección para el futuro de los soñadores, y dos años después de que jóvenes de la Florida escalaran sus acciones hasta el ámbito nacional, poniendo de relieve el poder administrativo del Presidente.

A continuación se encuentra la declaración de María Rodríguez, Directora Ejecutiva de la Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida.

“Aplaudimos la decisión del Presidente de actuar; fue, sin lugar a dudas, la mejor decisión. Nuestras comunidades no podían esperar más para que el Congreso tomara una decisión sobre el DREAM Act, mientras que los estudiantes y sus familias seguían siendo detenidos y deportados a diario.

Durante muchos años, el DREAM Act ha sido más que una pieza legislativa para las millones de vidas que afecta en todo el país; ha sido un movimiento liderado por los jóvenes para el futuro de las familias inmigrantes. Diversos sectores se han unido a esta lucha, incluidos defensores de derechos civiles y dirigentes sindicales, generales militares y lideres religiosos. También ha recibido un importante apoyo bipartidista, a diferencia de cualquier otro estado en el país.

En un paso trascendental, la administración de Obama anunció esta tarde una orden ejecutiva que detiene las deportaciones de jóvenes elegibles para el Dream Act que fueron traídos a este país bajo la edad de 16 años y todavía están bajo la edad de 30 años. El tope de edad representa a todos los jóvenes que habrían sido elegibles si el DREAM Act hubiera sido aprobado en 2001 cuando fue introducido inicialmente. Esta orden ejecutiva, a pesar de que no puede ofrecer ningún camino a la ciudadanía, brinda una oportunidad dentro del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional para que cerca de 800.000 inmigrantes puedan solicitar permisos de trabajo.

Esta decisión no sólo beneficia a los jóvenes o sus familiares directos, sino a todos los estadounidenses. No tiene sentido expulsar a jóvenes con talento que quieren dotar de personal a nuestros laboratorios, comenzar nuevos negocios, y contribuir a nuestro país. A medida que más inmigrantes salen de las sombras y reciben una oportunidad, nuestro país se beneficiará de profesionales cualificados, así como de futuros dueños de negocios que ayudarán a reactivar las economías locales mediante la generación de trabajos y compra de productos locales.

En palabras de los jóvenes:

“A medida que continuamos trabajando para asegurar un camino a la ciudadanía para jóvenes estadounidenses como yo, nos alegramos de la acción histórica del Presidente Obama de brindar protección a los miles de jóvenes a través de todo el país que reconocemos a los Estados Unidos como nuestro único hogar”, dice José Machado de Estudiantes Trabajando por la Igualdad de Derechos (SWER).

“Reconocemos que este es sólo un alivio temporal, y apoyamos al Presidente en pedir al Congreso que de el siguiente paso en la aprobación del DREAM Act el cual traera una solución definitiva para miles de jóvenes estudiantes como yo, y a nuestras families, pues llevamos viviendo en este país por mucho tiempo y queremos contribuir a nuestras comunidades sin miedo”, dice Evelyn Rivera, Red de Jóvenes Inmigrantes de la Florida.

Los soñadores han puesto todo en la línea de sus sueños con acciones audaces e inspiradoras. Desde que cuatro de nuestros líderes estudiantiles decidieron valientemente recorrer el Camino de los sueños desde Miami a Washington, hasta las protestas y ayunos que hemos visto recientemente en las oficinas de Obama a nivel nacional, vemos que nuestro trabajo duro esta siendo recompensado y que vale la pena en la medida en que sigamos de pie para nuestras familias y por nuestro futuro.

Marvin is free and will spend Father’s Day with his family!

Many undocumented parents will still spend Father’s Day in detention due to the Administration’s Broken Promises

Today Marvin Corado, an undocumented immigrant originally from Guatemala, was finally released after being detained for more than six months at a private immigrant detention center for only driving without a driver’s license. Marvin will be able to spend Father’s Day with his wife and his 5 year old daughter who is a U.S. citizen, while hundreds continue unnecessarily separated from their families due to the Administration’s failure to stop the detention and deportation of immigrants.

A national report “Restore the Promise of Prosecutorial Discretion” (Exec Summary attached) released earlier this week, outlines several shocking statistics about the scale of the failure of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) implementation of Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) one year after it was announced. In June 2011, DHS announced a new policy that was supposed to focus immigration enforcement on the “worst of the worst” and spare individuals who have been in the U.S. for years, raising families. However, only 1.5% of the 300,000 cases reviewed were closed and Prosecutorial Discretion has been poorly utilized to release fathers, mothers and DREAM Act-eligible students.

According to the report, “DHS is threatening to undermine the credibility of President Obama’s policies and standing with Latino and immigrant communities nationwide”.

Marvin’s case was featured in the report as a clear example of broken promises. Marvin came to the United States 12 years ago, is a father of a U.S. citizen, has no criminal record and was detained only for not having an ID. All these characteristics made him eligible for Prosecutorial Discretion. However, deportation officers tried several times to deport him, including the day before he was released.

As a ‘low priority’ immigrant, Marvin should not have even been detained in the first place. This is a clear cut example as to why ICE’s cosmetic changes to immigration policy have failed, and continue to fail our communities,” says Juan Escalante from Dream Activist Florida, who supported Marvin’s family and created an online petition to stop his deportation. “Cases like Marvin continue to be taken on by In-Secure Communities. We’ll continue to fight on behalf of people like him until President Obama and his administration makes considerable changes to the current immigration policies.”

Leslie Corado, Marvin’s wife, an undocumented immigrant herself, put away her fear and worked relentlessly to have her husband back home.  As she waits for Marvin to get out of the detention center, she says:  “I feel like a part of my heart came back to my life. It’s been 8 months without seeing him, this is the best thing that could happen today. My daughter cannot believe it, she is very excited. Thank you all for your help and I invite all families to fight. Yes, we can!

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.