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Tampa protests Florida Senator Marco Rubio

By Jared Hamil |
June 3, 2013
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Marisol Marquez of Dream Defenders speaks on legalization for all.
Marisol Marquez of Dream Defenders speaks on legalization for all. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
A letter demanding “full legalization for all 11 million now” is left on Senator
A letter demanding “full legalization for all 11 million now” is left on Senator Marco Rubio's office door.

Tampa, FL – Protesters gathered in front of Senator Marco Rubio’s Tampa office May 31 to criticize the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill currently being debated in the U.S. Senate and to demand, “Legalization for all!”

Senator Rubio is one of the ‘Gang of Eight’ senators sponsoring the bill under debate. The bill has some benefits, but it falls short of providing legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. It also promises to ramp up militarization of the border by funding the military, ICE and the Secure Communities Program with $18 billion per year. Groups around the country finished this week by doing actions to demand what people need – legalization for all 11 million undocumented people.

The protest opened up with two-dozen people chanting, “What do we want? Legalization! When do we want it? Now!”

Cindy Ibarra of the Mexican American Student Association (MASA), whose parents are undocumented, spoke out against deportations and in favor of full equality, “I want everyone to have the same rights. It's not fair to see my parents struggle my whole life. My mom has been driving without a driver's license for years now. And I worry every time she drives to Tampa because of a stop point and the police. My dad has been deported for several years now, and is no longer in our lives. I want this legalization for my mom and all the other families, because this is what we need. We as a community need to get more people involved, because if we don't who will?”

As the group lined up nearer to Senator Rubio’s doors, Marisol Marquez of Dream Defenders proclaimed, “The main reason we are here is because the Gang of Eight - or should I say gang of rich Democrat and Republican men - have been drafting up what they think is the answer for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. These rich men don't want to end militarization, they don't want to make it free to become legalized, and they don't want LGBTQ families included. We are here because we want full and equal legalization for all 11 million today!”

After another round of chants, the protesters approached the locked doors of Senator Rubio’s office to leave a giant letter which read:

“To Marco Rubio,

While we understand that you and the other senators have proposed a bill that would partly help some of the 11 million undocumented, the bill stops very short of helping all 11 million. Many parts of the bill are, in fact, harmful and cannot be supported. The first being that in order to become a permanent legal resident you must wait at least 10 years. This leaves millions of people without rights for over a decade. People need equal rights, NOW! Secondly, it expands 2nd class worker programs which locks the undocumented into jobs where they will be exploited and taken advantage of, without many of the rights that others have. It would set up the E-Verify system that creates a national database for the undocumented at the workplace that keeps track of their every move. It also has no protections or inclusions of LGBT families, discriminating against a huge portion of the undocumented. Lastly, it funds the militarization of the border, ICE and the Secure Communities Program. The people don't need to be terrorized by the police or the military. They don't need more arrests, and they don't need deportations. You and Congress can do better. The undocumented need genuine immigration reform, they need full legalization for all 11 million. NOW!”

After everyone signed the letter, the protesters left vowing to continue to place demands on Senator Rubio and the other Gang of Eight until all 11 million undocumented get full legal rights and equality.

The protest at Rubio’s office was part of a series of events this week in Tampa and around the country. Members of Tampa Bay Dream Defenders, Students for a Democratic Society, Get Equal,, the Mexican American Student Association and local churches joined together.

There is a petition demanding driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Sign here: