Tag Archives: immigration

A Dream Deferred?

31 Aug

Sending her DACA application at the Post OfficeBy: 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 

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

15 Jun

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!

13 Jun

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

Marvin with his daughter minutes after his releaseToday 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

12 Jun

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.

Miami-Dade Police Racially Profiles Latino Drivers in Homestead

13 Dec

 

We Count! denounces racial profiling by Miami-Dade Police towards latino drivers in Homestead, South Florida. Many Latinos are being stopped by police officers for no reason other than the color of their skin. Some of them are citizens or legal permanent residents. Others are undocumented who end up being deported and separated from their families only for not having a drivers license, all due to ICE’s Secure Communities program.

Documenting these abuses is the first step to stop them!

A petition will be delivered on to the Miami-Dade Police Department asking them to stop racial profiling against Latinos.

Changes in Deportations? Understanding the DHS Announcement

27 Sep
Janet Napolitano, DHS

Janet Napolitano, DHS

On August 18th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced significant changes on our country’s deportation priorities. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, sent a letter to Sen. Dick Durbin, stating that DHS and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) would concentrate their resources towards “high priority” deportation cases and that “it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases.”

What does this mean? According to Napolitano, deportation efforts should focus only on “those who pose a threat to public safety and national security, repeat immigration law violators and other individuals prioritized for removal.”

So far, this announcement didn’t sound like anything new. Until Napolitano further explained how this change was going to be achieved:

  • Review case-by-case all individuals currently facing deportation proceedings, approximately 300,000
  • Immigration officers should exercise “prosecutorial discretion” to identify low-priority and high-priority cases, according to a memorandum from ICE Director John Morton (read below)
  • Those cases deemed “Low Priority” will get a letter form DHS stating their case has been administratively “closed”
  • Those whose cases are closed, can probably apply for a work permit

This does sound like great news for thousands of families! 

However, there is still confusion and misinformation on how and when those currently in deportation proceedings can benefit from this.We need to understand fully what this announcement really means, in order to inform correctly our communities and to demand that it is implemented appropriately.

To understand what this announcement IS and what it ISN’T, read this Consumer Advisory by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

To understand the differences between “Low-priority” and “High-priority” cases, refer to the Morton Memorandum

CCA GO AWAY

6 Sep

(See English version below)

Por: Rosana Araujo*

Rosana Araujo, Miami Workers CenterEl 1 de Septiembre de 2011, día en que Alabama implementaría una ley antiinmigrante más fuerte que la SB1070 de Arizona y bajo un cielo amenazante por la lluvia, no impidió que un grupo de activistas afros e hispanos del sur de Florida se unieran para alzar sus voces por la construcción de un centro de detención en el condado de Broward con capacidad para 2000 camas, uno de los más grandes del país.

Alrededor de las 3:00 pm comenzaron a llegar pequeños grupos de las distintas organizaciones que con carteles, y al grito de “CCA Go Away”, reflejaban la disconformidad ante la población que circulaba en sus autos sobre Griffin Rd, haciendo que muchos de ellos desconcertados se detuvieran a preguntar qué sucedía, ya que sus líderes comunales se niegan a hablar.

Después que la administración del Presidente Obama anunciara cambios en las políticas de deportación, inmigrantes en todo el país siguen siendo detenidos y deportados.

Empresas como la Corporación de Correccionales de America (CCA) y el grupo Geo, son parte del mismo negocio: la encarcelación de inmigrantes. Por ese motivo apoyan leyes como la de Arizona y programas como Comunidades Seguras, con el fin de que sus cárceles no permanezcan vacías.

Por eso digamos “NO a la construcción de cárceles Si a la construcción de escuelas”.

Levantemos nuestras voces, CCA go AWAY.

Ver más fotos acá

*Rosana es miembro del Centro de Trabajadores de Miami.

Otras organizaciones presentes: Coalición de Inmigrantes de la Florida (FLIC), Estudiantes Trabajando por la Igualdad de Derechos (SWER), Mujeres Haitianas de Miami (FANM), Unite Here

(English version)

By: Rosana Araujo*

On September 1, 2011, the day Alabama was expected to implement an anti-immigrant law stronger than Arizona’s SB1070 and under a threatening sky, the rain did not stop a group of Afro and Latino activists in South Florida come together to raise their voices against the building of a new detention center in Broward County with a capacity of 2000 beds, one of the largest in the country.

Around 3:00 pm, small groups of the various organizations started arriving with banners and shouting “CCA Go Away,” reflecting their opposition to the people that drove by in their cars on Griffin Rd. Many of them, surprised, stopped to ask what was happening since their community leaders refuse to speak.

After Obama’s administration announced changes in the deportation policies, immigrants across the country continue to be detained and deported.

Companies like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group are part of the same business: the incarceration of immigrants. That is why they support laws like Arizona and programs like Secure Communities (S-Comm) so that their prisons are always full.

We need to say “NO to prisons and YES to schools.”

Let’s raise our voices, CCA go AWAY.

See more pics here

*Rosana is member of the Miami Workers Center. 

Other organizations present at the rally were: Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), Haitian Women of Miami (FANM), Unite Here