Benita Veliz, an advocate for the DREAM Act, wrote this wonderful blog post on Red Brown and Blue. Please share it with your fellow DREAMers!
On May 13th, FLIC leaders from Miami, Palm Beach, Orlando and Jacksonville, as well as national allies from the Quixote Center, National Immigration Forum, SEIU, TransAfrica Forum, The Episcopal Church and Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, made their voices heard in Washington.
They met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security and The White House, as well as U.S. Representatives from Florida, including Kendrick Meek, Alcee Hastings, Corrine Brown, Alan Grayson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as well as Maxine Waters (CA). We met with both Florida senators, Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez, as well as Dick Durbin (IL) and Charles Schumer (NY).
The same day, at least nine Haitians died off the coast of Florida, near Boynton Beach. Pregnant women and children were among the boat’s passengers. This tragedy was a sad reminder of how desperate conditions still are in Haiti, and how urgently Haitians in the U.S. need TPS.
For more information about TPS, please go to: http://www.tpsnow.org
Please urge President Obama to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Haitians in the United States. A toll-free number for the White House comment line has been set up: 1-800-906-5989 (Call time: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm EST).
Since its incorporation in November 2003, FLIC has experienced tremendous growth. Below is a snapshot of what the members groups of the Florida Immigrant Coalition are working on throughout the state in 2009.
You can join the efforts by supporting the issue campaigns or by participating in the local coalitions:
LEGALIZATION: As part of a consultative process that included surveys, small group work and voting at the annual membership meeting, FLIC member groups endorsed legalization as the primary effort. This means we will be educating our members, allies and decisionmakers about the need for reform that values immigration as an opportunity and not a threat and that respects families and workers–both immigrant and U.S.-born.
- How to plug in: contact Juan Pablo (email@example.com) about organizing for legislative visits or building your organizing circle and reaching out to allies.
ENFORCEMENT: Misguided and heavy-handed enforcement of broken immigration laws, including police enforcement of immigration comes at a great cost to our coffers, public safety and civil liberties. FLIC member groups are working in six counties to dissuade local police to divert their public safety missions to immigration functions. FLIC member groups are educating immigrants, documenting abuses and beginning visitation programs to detention centers.
- How to plug in: contact Subhash (firstname.lastname@example.org) about meeting with your local sheriff and submitting records release requests, conducting “train the trainers” know your rights presentations or visiting detainees at the Broward Transitional Center.
ACCESS TO COLLEGE: Students Working for Equal Rights (S.W.E.R.) came out of FLIC’s commitment to youth leadership. This effort seeks to educate students, parents and educational professionals about access to college, incentivizing participation through an internship and scholarship fund, as well as organizing to reduce barriers at the academic institutional level at the state and federal legislative level.
- How to plug in: contact Jose Luis (email@example.com) about joining the advisory body or supporting the upcoming statewide student tour.
WAGE THEFT: The South Florida Wage Theft Task Force is one of several coalitions statewide that seeks to support workers who do not get paid for their work. These efforts seek to create a systemic enforcement mechanism that bolsters the rights of all workers while recovering their lost wages.
- How to plug in: contact Maria (firstname.lastname@example.org) about supporting a Miami-Dade ordinance to include worker rights so that a local human rights board can provide wage enforcement.
RELIEF FOR HAITIANS: Haitians deserve relief from deportation to miserable conditions by either a temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced detention(DED).
- How to plug in: contact Francesca (Francesca@floridaimmigrant.org) to help bring the reality of Haitian detainees to national attention by reaching out to national allies.
Join Our Local Coalitions Throughout Florida!
FLIC is proud to announce that we have kicked off our campaign to Stop the ICE raids and win just and humane immigration reform. This strategy includes legislative, community organizing and direct action components, which are being planned and implemented by regional coalitions in Orlando, Miami, Palm Beach and Manasota. Please join us!