by Alvaro Montealegre, published on Fightback News, June 5, 2023
Tampa, FL – Some 2000 people gathered at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Columbus Drive in Tampa, Thursday, June 1, under the slogan “A Day Without Immigrants” to protest Senate bill 1718, which was promoted by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The new law seeks to increase repression and criminalization of Latin American immigrants, especially those without documents, by requiring they prove their legal entry and residence in the United States.
Attended mostly by Mexican, Honduran and other Central American people, the rally had a serious but very optimistic and upbeat atmosphere. The bulk of the attendees were about 20 to 50 years of age, although a lot of teenagers and younger children were present, as well as elderly people.
“El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido” (The people united will never be defeated) was a chant often heard as well as “DeSantis escucha estamos en la lucha” (DeSantis, beware, we are in the struggle). “Vivan los inmigrantes; fuera DeSantis” (Long live immigrants; out with DeSantis) was also chanted.
Billed as “the strongest anti-illegal immigration legislation in the country” by the governor’s office, Senate Bill 1718 makes the use of E-Verify mandatory for employers with 25 or more workers, imposes heavy fines to those giving work to undocumented immigrants, and raises penalties to anyone transporting them.
Furthermore, the new legislation prevents local governments from issuing ID cards, and invalidates those provided by other states, including driver’s licenses. Among other mandates, the new law requires hospitals to collect information on the immigration status of their patients and to track costs of the care given to undocumented people.
Laura Rodriguez of the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee states,
“Immigrants come to the U.S. border in great part because of problems the U.S. causes in our lands. The United States has militarized Latin America. Colombia alone has nine known U.S. military bases. Colombia has mass graves all over the country, with some found to have over 2000 bodies each in them. This is in great part due to U.S. government and corporations ‘clearing land’ to steal natural resources, quelling protests, and to maintain local and regional strategic control.”
Protests are continuing in cities and towns throughout Florida.
Editor’s Comment: De Santis is on a roll. He recently passed a law that forbids foreign nationals to own property in Florida.