Venezuelan activists join Democrats in hamming ‘sanctuary cities’ bill
Venezuelan activist William Diaz, with moustache, was joined by, from left, Victor Torres, Carlos Guillermo Smith and Amy Mercado, and others, in criticizing SB 168.

Victor Torres, Carlos Guillermo Smith, William Diaz, Amy Mercado
SB 168 puts Venezuelan refugees at greater risk of being sent back to Maduro, Diaz said.

Key Venezuelan activists said “thanks for nothing” to the Florida Legislature Monday for approving SB 168 to crack down on undocumented immigrants, saying it will hit Venezuelan refugees to Florida hard.

At a news conference in Orlando Monday, William Diaz of Casa de Venezuela-Orlando, Vicente Perez of VeneLegal and others were joined by three Orlando Hispanic Democratic lawmakers, state Sen. Victor Torres, and state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Amy Mercado, in charging that the bill heading toward Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ desk is not only bad for immigrants in Florida, but hypocritical for Republicans trying to support freedom and democracy in Venezuela.

The so-called “Rule of Law Adherence Act,” was approved last week, forbidding Florida cities from declaring themselves sanctuaries for undocumented or illegal aliens, and requiring that state and local officials cooperate with federal immigration officials offering detainers on jailed undocumented immigrants, or illegal aliens, or seeking information. DeSantis had made the measure a priority piece of legislation for his administration and intends to sign it.

Diaz, who has thrown his support behind such Republicans as U.S. Reps. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, said Monday that SB 168 will put thousands of Venezuelan refugees in Florida in greater risk of deportation back to the country ruled by dictator Nicolás Maduro, known for cracking down on returning political refugees.

Perez said Venezuelan refugees in Florida are at risk in part because the administration of President Donald Trump and Congress have not acted on attempts to authorize temporary protective status for the Venezuelan refugees, and have, in Perez’s assessment, made asylum far more difficult for any of them to achieve.

Diaz said he wanted to send a message to DeSantis and Florida Republicans that support for Venezuela must include support for Venezuelans in Florida, and that includes pushing for more asylum and TPS at the federal level, and includes not supporting laws such as SB 168 at the state level.

He said the Republicans he has supported “know Venezuelans. Oh, yes. But they approve SB 168, and you approve HB 527 [the House version.] So where do we go with that?” he added.

He said he also wants to send a message back to Venezuela.

“We want to let our brothers and sisters in Venezuela know that we are here fighting for them, fighting for their freedom,” Diaz said.

Diaz said there are more than 38,000 Venezuelans just in Central Florida, “so we deserve respect.”

Diaz also said that Republican state Rep. Rene Plasencia of Orlando, supported their concerns, though he was unable to attend the press conference. Plasencia was one of three Republican lawmakers who last week voted against the bill. The bill bans sanctuary cities in Florida and calls for public officials to cooperate with federal agents in requests for detainers and information about undocumented or illegal aliens.

Diaz also called out Republican state Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez of Doral, whose House District 105 is home to a large Venezuelan population, for voting yes on the bill. “It seems like she’s got no clue what’s going on, Diaz said. “She’s not representing the Venezuelans in Doral. She’s not representing the Venezuelans in the state of Florida.”

Rodriguez was not available Monday evening to respond.

“We’ve seen a 35 percent increase in the last year of deportations of Venezuelans back to Venezuela, the fact that it is harder and harder for asylum seekers, particularly Venezuelans, to be able to get the protection they need here in Florida, and the fact that they are now more likely to be deported back to Maduro’s Venezuela is very troubling, and very disturbing,” Smith said. “If we care about freedom for Venezuelans, and we support Venezuelans seeking freedom, why are we not supporting their seeking freedom here in the United States.”

Torres noted that the Senate passed a resolution expressing support for those seeking freedom in Venezuela, a spirit he said was lost when the Senate passed SB

168.”This is unfair to the community,” he said. “This is what’s going on in Florida: deprive, suppress, get people in fear of going out, working, enjoying their livelihood their families. This is unfair folks.”

Mostly, Mercado, Smith, and Torres spoke more broadly about SB 168 and its potential impacts on all the estimated 775,000 undocumented immigrants in Florida. They repeated the criticisms of the bill they had raised on the floors of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, where they each had tried, unsuccessfully, to attach various amendments that would have exempted various classes of immigrants including those seeking asylum; those identified as “DREAMers”, brought here as young children; and those who had served in the United States military.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • KC Schmidt

    May 6, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Lets see, we have Democrat / Socialist / Activist / Lawyers in the Northern Triangle of South America & Mexico; even as you read this instructing the populations the “benefits” & laws of coming top the USA…..”credible fear.” Then you have a Democrat House saying the crisis is “manufactured” as literally thousands attack our border daily? National Sovereignty is a myth to Democrats. The crisis is manufactured…by the Democrats themselves. Make no mistake about this, Democrats want this to happen and never stop.. They will with hold support allowing as many illegal aliens to enter the country before assisting in border security (if ever). Democrats offer rewards, incentives so…..More caravans on the way.

    The current migration at our border is costing U.S taxpayers a Kings ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don’t stay in Mexico when they reach “safety” or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant? Give birth on American soil and the U.S. taxpayers will not only pay for the birth of you’re child but will also give you state government assistance.

    TPS / DACA
    To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) are permanent programs. There is nothing “temporary or deferred” about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.

    It seems Democrats view U.S. citizens as acceptable collateral damage to their future long range goals of flooding the country with refugees & illegal aliens and having taxpayers paying the cost. Democrat politicians and their voters have put families at risk of being victimized by illegal aliens as in the cases Kate Steinly (nothing done) then, Mollie Tibbetts, (nothing done) Police Cpl. Ronil Singh, (nothing done) now Bambi Larson; butchered in her home, nothing will be done…who’s next? These victims would be alive today if our border was secured. Most of these killers have been deported numerous times. Bambi ‘s killer claimed “amnesty” to get into the country.

    Google search “illegal alien crime” or “victims.”

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children & grand children as has been passed on to us.

    * City emergency services Taxpayer pay for every police, fire, paramedic service call for illegal aliens in their city. Taxpayers also pay for all hospital, emergency room treatments, ambulances, medications….everything. Hospital wait times for citizens are negatively impacted.

    *Cost of educating illegal aliens is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers on average $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the millions spent on bilingual ED, instructors, special need children & day care. It is estimated nearly 100,000 illegal aliens graduate each year……you do the math. School class size are also negatively impacted by illegal aliens and our students suffer as a result.

    *Taxpayers in some states are funding “in state college tuition” discounts for illegal aliens. (AZ voted to terminate this taxpayer expense.) Cost to taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

    *About one in five inmates in federal prison are foreign-born, & more than 90% of those are in the U.S illegally. This does not include local jails and state prisons. At roughly $24,000 per year expense per inmate.

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the criminal justice system.

    *$2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP, WIC, & taxpayer funded school lunches. Visit youtube search “cost of illegal immigration.”

    *Mexico received 33 billion last year in remittance from our country. $120 billion total was sent out of the United States in total remittance last year.

    *Every child birth by illegal aliens in the U.S is paid for with tax dollars.In the US, the average cost to have a baby without complications during delivery, is $10,808, which can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy (July 9, 2018 google.)

    * Section 8 housing. Illegal aliens take full advantage of this program. Citizens & their families in poverty in many cases wait years behind non citizens for emergency housing.

    Democrat 2020 Platform & Goals:

    -Open Borders.
    -Sanctuary Cities.
    -Elimination of ICE
    -Disarming Americans.
    -Voting rights for illegal aliens.
    -Pack the courts with radical liberal judges (Like the 9th circuit)
    -Increase refugee’s from the third world.
    -Illegal aliens allowed to hold public office.
    -Free Abortions for all (Taxpayer funded)
    -The green new deal.
    -End of Electoral College
    -Free Medicare care for all including non citizens (taxpayer funded)
    -Raise Minimum Wage
    -Have adolescents vote
    -!00% free college for all, including non citizens. (tax payer funded)
    -Reparations for every race “harmed” by the white man.
    -Convicts, Terrorists voting.
    -Susie & Bobby using the same restrooms.
    -Late term abortions.
    -Pay check for every person in the US even if they choose not to work.

    Sources: Straight from the Democrat’s mouths.

  • Jan

    May 7, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I understand that people from war torn countries want to escape. However, Mexico and Colombia, as well as other South American Countries, offer political asylum and work permits to Venezuelans, Hondurans, etc. escaping civil wars.
    However, Mexico and the South American countries which welcome migrants don’t offer the “Pot Of Gold” that asylum seekers are also desiring from the U.S. due to our lack of border control and lax immigration policy.

Comments are closed.


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