A few days before the anti-immigrant law SB 1718 goes into effect in the state of Florida, human rights activists and pro-immigrant leaders announced the start of a caravan that will leave San Diego with the goal of reaching Tallahassee, Florida to stand in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.
“The caravan will leave Chicago Park in the Logan Heights neighborhood of San Diego on June 23rd. That same day, in the afternoon, he will arrive in Los Angeles in the afternoon to meet with Councilman Kevin de Leon,” said Juan Jose Gutierrez, director of the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition.
He added that the June 25 at noon they will celebrate a mass with Father Arturo Corrales at the Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles Church in Olvera Square.
“The mass is to bless and wish the participants the best of luck so that everything goes well during the caravan.”
Meanwhile, on June 26 at 5 in the morning, the caravan will leave Los Angeles. They will make a stop in San Bernardino, in Indio; in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona; in Las Cruces, New Mexico; in El Paso, San Antonio and Houston in Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
“The plan is to arrive in Tallahassee on June 30 to be there on July 1 when Law 1718 goes into effect,” Gutierrez said.
He added that that day there will be all kinds of protests, marches and demonstrations.
“The goal is to let undocumented immigrants, who we estimate number about 800,000 in Florida, know that they are not alone. Second, we want to stand in solidarity with the same businessmen who are already telling DeSantis to do something because their businesses are going bankrupt.”
He said that SB 1718 is pure politicking, and a competition between Ron DeSantis and Trump to see who is more anti-immigrant.
“Ron DeSantis designed this policy to overcome the disadvantage he has and win the victory to be a candidate for the presidency of the Republican party.”
But he also said they are going to work with legal teams to file lawsuits against SB 1718.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 1718, which makes it mandatory for employers with more than 25 workers use the E-Verify system to verify that they have a permit to legally work in the country.
Additionally, this measure prohibits local governments from issuing identification cards to undocumented immigrants, invalidates those issued by other states, and obliges hospitals to collect and submit information on the costs of providing medical care.
Javier Martínez, president of the United Organizations of the State of Jalisco, said that he supports the caravan because the initiative of the governor of Florida that seeks to criminalize it seems unfair the human acts of people who are not given the opportunity to serve this country by working.
“They don't come to do bad things; and here we need manpower. Law 1718 is a political act and a strategy to win votes from conservatives who do not understand migration.”
He considered that there are people who are afraid of the demographic growth of Latinos. “We are growing a lot, educating ourselves and that terrifies them.”
Juvenal Estrada Gutiérrez, a member of the Coalition for Full Immigrant Rights, said that in the face of attacks against immigrants in Florida, unity is very important.
“They have always used immigrants as a political piece. The difference is that the effects are already being seen in the Florida economy. The governor of Florida is one of the dumbest politicians ever seen, because at least the others calculated their political times.”
He made it clear that DeSantis did not realize that the distance between the time he signed the law and its entry into force was going to spread fear and people were going to start leaving.
“The other politicians who have used the community as a pinata, at least calculated the political moments and knew their state. DeSantis screwed up and ruined his career, because he's ruining the economy of his state.”
He stressed that now is the opportunity for undocumented immigrants to promote the importance of their workforce.
“What is happening to Florida can happen in any state, not it accepts its reality and does not see the value of undocumented and documented labor.”