Wednesday, 02 May 2007 01:00
Local Immigration MarchWritten by WGCU Newsroom
More than 250 people took part in the Immigrants United for Freedom march in Immokalee Tuesday. Organizers say they sent letters to companies asking them to give workers the day off for the event, but they only received two or three positive responses. Last year an estimated 75 thousand people marched through Fort Myers in support of immigration reforms.
Fort Myers News Press opinion writer David Plazas, who is also the editor of Gazeta Tropicalle, says the paper is going to have a community conversation on Friday with an immigration lawyer. It’s the second such conversation. Plazas says certain themes, including the right to legalization, keep popping up.
“Every time I go into a restaurant, I certainly get approached by people who recognize me from Gazeta and ask when is this reform going to happen to us? When are we going to get some sort of amnesty, some say some sort of normalization.”
Plazas says that in 2000 there were about 42,000 Hispanics in Southwest Florida. Today there are nearly 80,000 – by all means not all illegal. But Plazas also says the area is seeing an exodus of immigrant workers due to lack of construction jobs and changing agricultural seasons.
A Plant City based organization with an office in Immokalee put on Tuesday’s local protest for immigration reform. There were other protests across Florida and the nation.
About 250 attended the event in Immokalee where they carried signs saying “We are not terrorists, we are honest workers and taxpayers” and “Illegals are workers not delinquents”.
Fort Myers News Press editor of Gazeta Tropicalle David Plazas, says in preparing for the rally there was some trepidation by the organizers as to whether there was going to be a march at all.
“There was a division that some said we’re going to be exposing these marchers to a potential immigration raids and so certainly there is that tremendous fear based up on some raids over the past couple of months and also based upon just the lack of action from the federal government to create some process, whether it be a normalization or some sort of ability to get legalized.”
The News Press supports President Bush’s plan which would include an earned citizenship and guest worker program as well as some ways to require people to learn English and become involved in civic society.