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Tampa calls out Senator Marco Rubio, demands legalization for all

By staff |
September 7, 2013
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Crowd in front of Rubio's office demands Immigrant rights.
Crowd in front of Rubio's office demands Immigrant rights. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tampa, FL - 25 people gathered outside of Florida Senator Marco Rubio's office on Sept. 7 to demand legalization for all and equality for undocumented immigrants. The protest included Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, Occupy Tampa, the Farm-worker Association of Florida and Raíces en Tampa. Held at Rubio's Tampa office located on the University of South Florida's campus, activists marched and united in chants like, "Rubio! Escucha! Estamos en la lucha!"

An immigrant rights caravan using the slogan "Remember November" began their journey on Aug. 4, traveling through the 27 congressional districts in Florida. The Remember November caravan is pushing for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) to apply to all immigrants.

Blanca Moreno, one of the people in the caravan, is a Mexican immigrant. During the protest Moreno said, "Without farmworkers, no one eats. Without undocumented immigrants having a card that gives us equality, we are not a country that protects its people. We must not allow the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (SAFE Act) to take over." Moreno then led the crowd in a chant of, "No SAFE Act in Florida. Si se puede!”

The SAFE Act would make it possible for any U.S. stat to write its own immigration bill and to intensify any harassment or targeting against its undocumented population. The SAFE Act would ensure that even if the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill passes, any state like Florida could call for an increase in deportations, incarceration of immigrants or further expanding militarization.

Xicano activist Dave Gonzalez with Occupy Tampa said, "A few days ago there were complaints about a foul odor coming from a rural part of Tampa. Upon further investigation it was found that the odor was from pesticides sprayed in agricultural farms. People seemed more concerned about the smell than the well-being of the farmworkers who worked the fields, and no real news reported on that matter. If we left undocumented immigrants out, we cannot advocate for equality as a whole."

Marisol Márquez with Raíces en Tampa said, "We gathered to let politicians like Senator Marco Rubio know we are not counting on them to bring the necessary change. We cannot sit around and let them decide the fate of 11 million undocumented immigrants. Legalization for all is what we need and we will continue to work towards it, not only in Tampa but in the entire U.S."

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