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Now in #PompanoBeach, FL: Activists Hold Vigil Outside Broward Detention Center #OccupyBTC

October 19, 2013

via Florida Immigrant Coalition
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DREAMers and Families ask Congressman to file an comprehensive immigration bill immediately, take their grievances to a vigil in from of Broward Transitional Center

Frustrated local immigrants, community members, and leaders with Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), an affiliate of United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth network in the country and members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), the largest immigrant rights group in Florida, held a sit-in at Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s Miami office, refusing to leave until he files a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the House, in much the same way his Democratic counterpart in Miami, Rep. Joe Garcia has.

At approximately 5pm on October 11, the demonstrators were asked to leave. After initially refusing, the police were called and they complied with the request. They regrouped for a vigil and fast beginning at Broward Transitional Center in Pompano Beach, a privately run immigrant detention center subcontracted by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). They will continue their vigil and fast until Oct 27, repeating their demand that Rep. Diaz-Balart file an immigration bill with a path to citizenship.

“Our families can’t take this inaction any more. Our politicians in Washington can’t agree on anything, can’t get a comprehensive bill passed, can’t even keep the government from shutting down, but they can still manage to maintain a status quo that separates thousands of our families,” said Tomas Pendola, an undocumented student from Students Working for Equal Rights, who was granted Deferred Action but fears for members of his family that remain undocumented.

While the Government is shutdown, the Department of Homeland Security is considered “essential”, which means that detentions and deportations continue at an estimated of 1000 to 1200 a day.

“Rep. Diaz Balart has always supported immigration reform. But at this point we don’t want to see more good intentions, we need to see concrete actions. We are tired of waiting while all we see moving in the House are deportation bills like the SAFE Act,” continues Pendola. “We have been very patient, put up with all of the excuses and watched the Gang of Seven lose more members each month. The time for patience is over. Rep. Diaz Balart must either show us a bi-partisan bill, support the bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Garcia or write his own. Anything else means supporting the status quo and the separation of our families.”

For the most recent images and updates, follow @FLImmigrant@SWER_FL @unitedfamiliesf and @kathybird305

Below are some photos from the sit in and the vigil

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