Immigration Issues – March 2018

From left to right: Joshua Contreras, DACA recipient and vice president of #ClearwaterHereToStay; Dr. Heide Castañeda, USF anthropology professor; Adriana Dinis, attorney for the Immigration Law Group of Florida;  Sandra Lyth, founder and past CEO of the Hispanic Outreach Center; Nancy Yu, SPC Student Support Service Advisor

Our focus is in two areas: passage of the DREAM Act and monitoring local impact of the Trump administration’s increased emphasis on the detention and deportation of law abiding undocumented immigrants.

We continue to partner with the DREAMer-founded #ClearwaterHereToStay, helping them arrange for an immigration lawyer for their educational panel held on Feb. 26 and providing a table for so attendees could write postcards to U.S. senators, asking them to vote for a DREAM Act.

The panel included a St. Petersburg College student who is temporarily protected by DACA, representatives from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg College, who work daily with undocumented students, and the director of the Hispanic Outreach Center.

The overall consensus is that the fear level has increased significantly this past year within the local immigrant communities. Panel members also expressed grave concern about the agreement that 17 Florida sheriffs, including Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, signed with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain immigrants for ICE once they have posted bail on a local offense. Immigrant groups are now warning immigrants to stay away from Florida.

Our next monthly meeting is at 1:30-3 p.m. on March 26. Our Action Group is exploring quarterly Immigration Informational evenings – but we need your feedback. If interested, please let me know at Thanks.