Facing Raids, South Florida Immigrant Advocates Want People To Know Their Rights

Jul 17, 2019

After threats of large-scale Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids across the country, advocates from some South Florida immigrant-rights groups have taken to the streets in recent days to talk to people who may be affected. 

A group of volunteers with the political advocacy group The New Florida Majority talked to people outside a Family Dollar store in Hollywood Tuesday night. They handed out "Know Your Rights" flyers in Creole, Spanish and English. 

And Carlos Naranjo, a community organizer with the New Florida Majority, has been out across Broward County. 

"Even though there hasn't been as many raids, the intended impact of terrorizing migrant communities was effective," he said.  "So again, we're just here reminding people that we have constitutional rights."

Naranjo said the goal is to inform people of their rights in a simple way: "That first of all - you don't have to open the door," Naranjo said. "[Authorities] have to have a warrant signed by a judge."

Read More: What's Next: Immigrant Families In South Florida Wrestle With Open-Ended Immigration Raids

Naranjo also visits the Immigration and Customs Facility in Miramar on Wednesday mornings, where asylum-seekers, people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and those with required check-ins go for regular immigration appointments.

A group that calls themselves the 'Miramar Circle of Protection' meets there at 8:30 a.m. every week. 

Now the group, which is a mix of multiple immigrant-rights organizations, has a table set up with similar "Know Your Rights" (or "Conoce Tus Derechos") information.

Bud Conlin, a co-founder, said that more than half the people that arrive at the facility do not have attorneys.

"We want to arm them with some kind of access to information," he said. 

State lawmakers and aides from nine districts visited the outside of the facility this Wednesday, after an invitation from the Miramar Circle of Protection. Rep. Dotie Joseph was among the group - she represents parts of Miami-Dade County. 

"One reason you see this now, is specifically because of the raids, to let people know about their rights. And not just them, but the people in their communities," Joseph said.  

Rep. Cindy Polo was also there. Her district includes Miramar. 

"This is a federal issue, and a federal building. There's not much statutorily that we can do," she said. "However, we all know that it's always easier for one government agency to speak to another government agency."

The New Florida Majority is hosting Peoples' Assemblies this week and next, from Palm Beach County to Homestead:

Delray Beach

Thursday, July 18 from 6-8 p.m. at the Swinton Corporation Complex, 200 SW 6th St.

South Dade

Friday, July 19 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Naranja Park, 14150 SW 264 St. 

Hollywood

Saturday, July 20 from 2-4 p.m. at John Williams Park, 6101 Sheridan St. 

Hialeah

Monday, July 22 from 6-8 p.m. at Obsession Ballroom, 4658 Palm Avenue

Fort Lauderdale

Wednesday, July 24 from 6-8 p.m. at the Midtown Commerce Center, 1033 NW 6th St. #206

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