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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Farmworkers, activists meet with Sen. Rubio's staff about immigration reform

    Farmworkers, activists meet with Sen. Rubio's staff about immigration reform

    The coalition Central Florida-based immigrant rights groups are launching a caravan and hoping to arrive in D.C. on Inauguration Day.
    Orlando Police block the entrance in the hallway outside Sen. Marco Rubio's office as Hispanic immigration policy activists arrived unannounced at Rubio's office in downtown Orlando, Thursday, January 3, 2012. The group rallied in front of Orlando City Hall before marching to Rubio's office nearby. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel / January 3, 2013)

    By Arelis R. Hernández, Orlando Sentinel3:29 p.m. EST, January 3, 2013

    Florida farmworkers and immigrant rights activists marched to Sen. Marco Rubio's office in Orlando Thursday to urge the passage of comprehensive immigration reform and the halting of deportations that have split their families apart.

    A group of about 60 men, women and children from South and Central Florida gathered on the steps of Orlando City Hall to kick off a 1,000-mile protest caravan that will stop in rural and urban farmworker communities on the East Coast and culminate Jan. 20 when it arrives in Washington, D.C. for the inauguration.

    Activist Daniel Barajas, with the Forward With Your Promise caravan, said the impromptu meeting Thursday with Rubio's State Director Todd Reid was an "open and welcoming discussion." But no promises were made about how Rubio would move on immigration issues in the new Congressional session, he said.

    "Rubio based his campaign on being an immigrant — his experience parallels with what we are fighting for," Barajas said, explaining why his organization is targeting the junior senator. "[Reid] told us we should see something in the news from Rubio fairly soon."

    Baraja's group is part of a coalition of Central Florida immigrant rights organizations championing a call to remind President Barack Obama of his immigration reform campaign promises, said Sister Ann Kendricks of Hope Community Center in Apopka, a farmworker ministry.

    "I understand [the President] used his political capital to push healthcare reform in his first cycle but he's not running for reelection now," she said. "It's time to get something done."

    The coalition grew out of the momentum built by retired Polk County farmworker and activist Santos de la Rosa, who for weeks last summer and fall walked on his knees along state highways to protest the continuing deportations.

    The caravan evolved from de la Rosa's "Knee-a-thon" into a plan to send a group of ambassadors to the nation's capital in cars.

    While a group of leaders met with Rubio's staff Thursday, dozens more protesters were escorted out of the building at 201 S. Orange Ave. by police, who arrived minutes after the group crammed into elevators to the third floor suite.

    Citing a fire code violation, about 10 Orlando police officers inside and outside the building moved the group to the street where protesters began chanting in English and Spanish.

    "Rubio escucha, estamos en la lucha," they sang. "Listen up, Rubio. Reform, now!"

    Law school graduate and Florida Bar applicant Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio said without reforms his future as an attorney is in jeopardy.

    Brought to the U.S. at age nine, Godinez-Samperio, now 26, graduated from law school and passed the bar exam but the Florida Supreme Court is weighing whether it can issue a law license to the undocumented immigrant.

    Godinez-Samperio said Obama's executive order to defer deportations for young immigrants brought to the country as children is good — but not enough.
    "That only helps a few groups," he said. "We want complete and real immigration reform."

    Donatila Diego drove to Orlando from Homestead to join the cause Thursday. She has been caring for her niece's four U.S.-born children since the woman was deported to Guatemala in 2009.

    "I'm here because of the pain I feel for the kids being separated from their mother," Diego said Thursday. "The kids need their mother and they won't find her love anywhere else but with her."

    For more information about the caravan, go to or follow its progress on Twitter at @FWYP2013. or 407-420-5471,0,4741397.story

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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Supporters of immigration reform gather in Jax on way to Washington D.C.

    Published On: Jan 04 2013 01:17:25 PM EST Updated On: Jan 04 2013 01:19:41 PM EST


    Immigrants' rights advocates and their supporters made a stop in Jacksonville on Friday along their 1,000 mile Forward-With-Your-Promise Caravan trek from Central Florida to Washington D.C.

    They stopped outside City Hall to hold a news conference urging the Duval Legislative Delegation members to support comprehensive immigration reform before their scheduled 1 p.m. delegation meeting.

    The Forward-With-Your-Promise Caravan evolved from the Knee-A-Thon Pilgrimage. In 2011, Santos de la Rosa began a Knee-A-Thon Pilgrimage in Sebring. Santos de la Rosa and Immigration Information Advocates Inc. exposed the pain of families separated by the U.S.' current deportation and detention policies.

    "I lay awake at night and think of the mothers separated from their sons and daughters, the children who cry at night because their parents are gone, and, tragically, the children in state or foster care, all because of an immigration system that has failed them," said de la Rosa. "How can our nation sleep peacefully at night until we have stopped the hurt and fixed this devastating problem that is breaking hearts and tearing families apart?"

    Marchers began crawling on their knees from Sebring in September 2011. Now, the marchers are standing up, going to the nation's capital.

    The marchers are asking Sen. Marco Rubio and President Barack Obama to take leadership on true immigration reform, with papers and with a green card.

    The caravan will reach Washington D.C. on Jan. 20 in time for the inauguration.

    Supporters of immigration reform gather in Jax on way to Washington D.C. | News - Home
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