Tonight, the Kissimmee City Commission passed a Resolution in favor of President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration, which could protect approximately 253,000 Floridians from unnecessary deportation. The Resolution passed with a 3-2 vote, thanks to Mayor Pro Tem Sara Shaw and to Commissioners Jose A. Alvarez and Art Otero who voted in favor. Unfortunately, Mayor Jim Swan and Vice Mayor Wanda Y. Rentas voted against the Resolution.
Kissimmee is the 1st city in Florida to pass a resolution of this sort, and the 3rd city to officially support Deferred Action programs that would benefit parents of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and immigrants who came to Florida at a very young age. The Executive Action has been temporarily blocked by a lawsuit filed by the Governor of Texas and signed on by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, among 26 other states.
Members of pro-immigrant organizations in Central Florida such as Mi Familia Vota, the Farmworkers Association of Florida, Young American Dreamers and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, attended the City Commission meeting to show support from the community.
“As a community, our local officials are the closest to us and we can rest well today knowing that local officials from Kissimmee are standing up for us and our families. We see this as one step closer to making Florida a more welcoming place for all immigrants,” commented Jose Luis Marantes, State Director for Mi Familia Vota – Florida, who was present at the meeting.
Earlier in April, Tampa and North Miami became the first cities in Florida to take legal action in support of Administrative Relief for undocumented immigrants when they joined 73 cities and counties in a new friend-of-the-court brief (also known as Amicus Brief) filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Texas vs. United States lawsuit, urging immediate implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The Court has not announced a verdict yet.
The growing number of cities and counties in the country and in Florida raises questions as to why Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi signed Florida onto the lawsuit without considering the significant harms to America’s local governments, the local economies and families, caused by this delay. Already over 1,300 Floridians have signed a petition to AG Bondi to #DropTheLawsuit.
“We are urging cities and counties to take action and pass similar resolutions in favor of immigrant families in Florida and supporting immigrant workers who are the backbone of Florida’s tourism and agriculture,” says Francesca Menes, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.