In The News

Trump’s visit to Florida met with protests over immigration decision for Haitians - The Miami Herald

By Jacqueline Charles, Julie K. Brown and Lance Dixon 

November 21, 2017 

South Florida community leaders Tuesday decried the Trump administration’s decision to return nearly 60,000 Haitians to their quake-ravaged homeland, calling it “heartbreaking” and “shameful” while vowing that their fight has just begun.

“We all know that Haiti is not ready to absorb so many of its children,” said Gepsie Metellus, executive director of Sant La, the Haitian Neighborhood Center in Miami. “This is a sad day, a very shameful day, a depressing day especially on a Thanksgiving eve where a nation of immigrants would be rebuking immigrants.”

The outrage spread to Palm Beach, too. Hundreds of Florida hospitality workers came by the busload from across the state to protest at President Donald Trump’s private beach club, Mar-a-Lago, where he was scheduled to arrive Tuesday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The union workers from Unite Here waved flags and marched in the searing sun on a bridge overlooking the resort, chanting “Shut it down.”

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Trump’s Anti-Immigrant, Un-American Agenda Marches Forward - The Huffington Post

October 20, 2017

Since President Trump took office, each day seems to present new challenges for immigrants seeking safety and freedom in America. These past two weeks were no exception. On October 8, the White House released a laundry list of cruel and nativist “Immigration Principles and Policies,” the most draconian anti-immigrant document since the infamous Immigration Act of 1924, nearly a century ago. In the crosshairs are some of our country’s most vulnerable immigrants: DREAMers brought here by their families as children; unaccompanied minors fleeing murderous gangs in the most dangerous countries in the world; and asylum-seekers desperately pursuing freedom from persecution.

The Trump Administration’s shameful policies would make it easy to deport children to their death, strip asylum-seekers of basic due process protections, and remove countless immigrants without affording them their day in court. Most damning, the Administration pits Dreamers against other immigrants without legal status, including Dreamers’ own parents and Central American children in search of safety.

“As a DREAMer, I’m not settling for a bill that will harm millions of other immigrants in exchange for my own protection. No matter how [President Trump] wants to sugarcoat the proposal, as immigrant activists and DREAMers, we cannot support demands that put unaccompanied minors and other immigrants in harm’s way.” - Monica Lazaro, Americans for Immigrant Justice client and DACA recipient, October, 2017
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Figuring out a path forward for 800,000 ‘Dreamers’ is subject of Barry Conference - The Miami Herald


November 02, 2017 

Figuring out a path forward for the 800,000 students who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was the subject of a recent conference at Barry University.

“These people are terrified about not knowing how to plan for the future. You have a pretty significant population who was given a relief [with DACA] and started planning ahead,” said Miami immigration attorney Michelle Ortiz. “So when all of a sudden, because there has been no legislative fix, a president changes his mind about what should happen to these people, anxiety and fear ensues.”

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Thousands Of ‘Dreamers’ Now Subject To Deportation - CBS Miami

October 5, 2017 

WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — As many as 48,000 so called Dreamers, undocumented students and workers who came to the U.S. as children, and had been protected from deportation by the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy, now face the prospect of immediate detention and deportation.

Among 154,000 Dreamers whose eligibility had or would expire, did not apply for renewal by Thursday’s deadline.

In any event, some 800,000 Dreamers nationwide will face an end to DACA protection unless Congress moves to enact it as law.

“Some of those who did not apply to renew may have decided to go underground. They might want to remain in the shadows and not let immigration officials know of their whereabouts,” said attorney Adonia Simpson with the group Americans For Immigrant Justice, with the prospect of DACA being terminated on March 5th, a deadline set by President Trump.

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‘All the Way’ playwright responds to anti-immigration rhetoric and Donald Trump - The Miami Herald

September 21, 2017

Even before the election that transformed billionaire reality TV star Donald J. Trump into the 45th president of the United States, playwright Robert Schenkkan was so disturbed by the candidate’s anti-immigrant rhetoric that he decided to respond.

Not with a tweet. Not with an opinion-page essay. The Pulitzer Prize winner spoke back to candidate Trump with a full-length play.

“Building the Wall,” Schenkkan’s eerily prescient piece about life under a man he didn’t expect to win the election, has already been produced by a number of American theaters, with additional productions planned in the United States and several other countries.

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DACA, Hurricane Irma, and Young Americans’ Dreams Deferred - The New Yorker


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Dreamers wait anxiously for Trump's decision on DACA program - Local 10

By Andrea Torres

September 01, 2017

MIAMI - Monica Lazaro has defied all odds. After graduating from Coral Gables High School, her 40-year-old mom died of cancer. Students organized a fundraiser and with the help of an anonymous donor she was able to study biology at Miami-Dade College and Florida International University. 

Lazaro is working as a research associate at Nova Southeastern University. She is studying chronic fatigue syndrome. She made her dad proud when she received a security clearance to work at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  

The future of the 24-year-old aspiring epidemiologist could soon be derailed. She is among the estimated 800,000 migrants waiting for President Donald Trump to make a decision that could send them back to the shadows of illegality and a life in fear -- now that the government knows everything about them. 

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Miami leaders line up to support ‘Dreamers’ and ask Trump to do the same - The Miami Herald

By Alex Harris and Kyra Gurney

August 30, 2017 

With the future of a program that protects undocumented young people from deportation in question, leaders of Miami-Dade lined up Wednesday to voice their support for “Dreamers” and reassure scared kids that the community has their back.

For the past five years, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were children could access the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and get a work permit and driver’s license. President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants to end the program put into place by former President Barack Obama via executive order, possibly as soon as this week.

The county leaders gathered at Miami Dade College, which became “the epicenter of the ‘Dreamer’ movement” in 2010 when four undocumented students walked the 1,500 miles from the Freedom Tower to the U.S. capital to call attention to their plight.

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Atty. Gen. Sessions again attacks Chicago and other 'sanctuary' cities - LA Times

August 16, 2017

Speaking in Miami, where county authorities hold prisoners for federal immigration agents, Sessions said sanctuary policies are an example of “lawlessness” and again vowed to cut off federal funding to communities that use them.

Although the link between illegal immigration and rising crime is weak — studies show immigrants tend to commit crimes at lower rates than other people — Sessions suggested Miami’s policies contributed to a dramatic drop in murders.

“The same Independence Day weekend when Chicago suffered more than 100 shootings and 15 homicides, Miami-Dade also had a historic number of shooting deaths — zero,” he said.

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US Rep. Carlos Curbelo seeks more permanent solution for Haitian families living under TPS - Local 10

August 14, 2016

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo spoke to Local 10 News Monday about the future of Haitians who depend on temporary protected status, known as TPS.

The congressman, as well as advocates and lawyers, listened, learned and brainstormed ways to help some 50,000 Haitians whose temporary protected status in the U.S. ends in January.

"There's been tremendous insecurity in the community about this," said Steve Forester, of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

"For the South Florida economy, the impact would be disastrous," Curbelo said.

Haitian nationals have been afforded TPS since the 2010 earthquake there, and the policy has been repeatedly renewed because Haiti has not fully recovered.

The country has since endured a cholera epidemic and suffered damage from another hurricane just last year.

The goal is to eventually find a long-term and more permanent solution for Haitians who have built their lives in the U.S.

"People have made ties here," said Adonia Simpson, of Americans for Immigrant Justice. "They have family members here, U.S. citizen children, they own businesses, they own homes."

South Florida lawmakers across party lines unanimously support extending protections for Haitians. 

Curbelo is now considering taking the issue up to the rest of Congress.

"Maybe it's time for members of Congress to put their names next to a legislative vehicle that can provide a permanent solution for these Haitian families who have been a part of our community for so long," he said. 

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