Newspress Article: Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project asks Rubio for immigration reform that keeps families together

Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project asks Rubio for immigration reform that keeps families together
Written by Christina Cepero
Feb. 27

Newspress article online PDF 

Bonita Springs resident Jorge Rodriguez never wants to be separated from his family again.

In June 2011, the 34-year-old Mexican native was stopped on I-75 on his way to a remodeling job in Miami. When he couldn’t provide documents showing legal status, he was taken by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to the Broward Transitional Center.

“Daddy, when are you going to come back?” his two young children asked him when he talked to them on the phone.

After being detained there for two months, he was able to go home after paying a $5,000 bond, but his immigration status remains in limbo.

Rodriguez joined a dozen other advocates of the Florida Immigrant Coalition’s Say Yes to Citizenship campaign today during a meeting with Sen. Marco Rubio’s legislative aide, Zach Zampella, at Edison State College in Naples. Media was not allowed into the meeting.

“We need Sen. Rubio to be on board and say yes to an immigration reform that benefits our communities and our families,” said Angela Cisneros, a volunteer with the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project, at a press conference before the meeting.

“We not only want him to consider a real and reasonable path to citizenship but to push for a moratorium on deportations which would benefit the many currently detained who could qualify for eventual immigration reform.”

Press contacts for Rubio did not return a voicemail or email from The News-Press this afternoon.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office detained 2,956 individuals between fiscal year 2008 and the start of fiscal year 2012, according to case-by-case records obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse through a Freedom of Information Act request. Of those, 2,034, or 69 percent, had not been convicted of a crime and 922 had.

In Lee County, 1,225 were detained. Of those, 835, or 68 percent, had no criminal record, and 390 did.

Grey Torrico, also with the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project, said Rubio’s aide did not address the request for a moratorium on deportations.

“We went in there knowing that a lot of the conversation was going to revolve around operational control of the border,” Torrico said. “He did speak about this nebulous framework around citizenship. … It doesn’t seem like a really concrete laid-out plan.”

Dr. Juan Puerto, who has worked in Immokalee for 30 years, said he sees children who have stopped smiling after a parent was deported.

“They’re depressed; they get behind in school,” he said. “When you disrupt a family, you disrupt the basic unit of society.”

Pastor Miguel Fernando Estrada Salvador, who runs La Mision Bethel Farmworker Ministry in Immokalee, doesn’t want to see any more families torn apart. He said it’s often the breadwinner who is deported, putting the family in a difficult economic situation.

“We just came here to work,” said Maria Bautista, 28, of Naples, who attended with her two young daughters who were born in the United States, adding she and her husband don’t drive for fear of being deported. “We don’t want them to suffer like their parents have.”

Immigration attorney Alex Vernon said: “These people are workers, business owners, employers, mothers, fathers, neighbors and community members. The businesses and communities and families that depend on them are sorely challenged by these indiscriminate immigration detention and enforcement polices, and I think that this community deserves better.”

Paul Midney, a nurse at an Immokalee clinic, urged Rubio to not make the process unnecessarily burdensome. “The harder you make it for families to legalize and to normalize, it just is more difficult for the children to become successful later on in life and to get the educational opportunities so they can reach their potential,” he said.

Comunicado de Prensa: Jornada Legal de Acción Diferida y Reunión Comunitaria en Naples


Contacte: Andres Machado, 239-595-6064,

Jornada Legal de Acción Diferida y Reunión Comunitaria en Naples

 El Proyecto: Colección de Voces y FL Sueño se unen en colaboración para traer una clinica legal gratis con apoyo legal de 3 escuelas de leyes diferentes

Cuando: Lunes, 11 de marzo de las 10 AM hasta las 4 PM, seguida por una reunión comunitaria a las 7 PM en el mismo lugar

 Donde: New Haitian Church of the Nazarene

5085 Bayshore Drive, Naples, FL 34112

Ver Mapa

Quienes: Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project (CCNSP) o Proyecto: Colección de Voces en español, FL Dream, Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), Florida International University (FIU) – College of Law, University of Miami Law School, Ave Maria Law School, and Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER)

 Naples, FL – Como el primer pare de una gira estatal por el grupo FL Sueño, el condado de Collier realizará una jornada legal sobre la acción diferida para aquellos estudiantes o jovenes indocumentados que puedan calificar. La jornada proveerá servicios gratuitos incluyendo ayuda con la aplicación y repaso de documentos. Los servicios se darán en ingles y español por abogados certificados de Miami. Citas están disponibles pero se aceptarán individuos sin turno previo.

“Estoy entusiasmado en tomar el liderazgo en esta nueva iniciativa del Proyecto: Colección de Voces,” dice Andres Machado, un estudiante destacado de FGCU y nuevo coordinador de esta jornada. “Estamos esperando llegar a cientos de jovenes en el area, hasta aquellos en Fort Myers, si es posible.”

La clinica estará abierta al publico empezando a las 10 AM hasta las 4 PM y directamente después se auspiciará en el mismo lugar una reunión comunitaria a las 7 PM. La reunión comunitaria estará abierta a participantes de la clinica quienes quieren aprender sobre temas de inmigración local y quieren continuar realizando estas clinicas gratuitas en el área.

Andres añade: “los individuos asistiendo deberían tomar nota traer evidencia en forma de documentos para repasarla con los abogados presentes. Tenemos una lista de documentos que se deberían traer. ”

Haga cliq acá para ver la lista

El Proyecto: Colección de Voces es una iniciativa comunitaria que involucra y empodera a la comunidad inmigrante en el condado de Collier para que tome acción en las areas de la criminalización, discriminación racial y temas de poli-migra. Desde el 2012, el Proyecto ha realizado más de 30 entrenamientos de conocer tus derechos en 5 condados diferentes y ha entrenado más de 700 personas. Puedes visitar el sitio web

FL Sueño es una campaña para ayudar a jóvenes indocumentados de bajos ingresos que desean aplicar Acción Diferida para los Llegadas en la Infancia (DACA por sus siglas en inglés). La campaña fue creada a mediados de 2012 por SWER, Pico Florida, FIU, Americanos por la Justicia Inmigrante y la Coalición de Inmigrantes de Florida. Desde entonces, FLSueño ha organizado 10 clínicas legales gratuitas en Miami, Broward y Homestead, ayudando a cerca de 4.000 familias de inmigrantes y finalizando cerca de 1.000 aplicaciones. Los solicitantes pueden pedir una cita en


FREE DACA Clinic in Naples: March 11 from 10-4 PM-Clinica de Acción Diferida Gratis

The Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project is hosting its first ever DACA Clinic on March 11th from 10-4 PM in Naples.

We are bringing, for the first time ever, 4 different law schools to work together on applications for DACA applicants. They include the University of Miami, Florida international University, St. Thomas and Ave Maria law schools.

articles for outreach, Naples Daily News

Want to know what documents you need to bring with you? Quiere saber cuales documentos tiene que traer con ud?

Click here for English checklist

Click here for Spanish checklist (español)

You can read more about DACA here

Download the flyer in ENGLISH SPANISH


Reunión Comunitaria en Naples 1/31/13: Entérate del tema de inmigración a nivel local y nacional!

para todos aquellos que quieran saber más sobre la reforma migratoria y la colaboración de la policia con la migra, por favor asistan a esta reunión el jueves, 31 de enero a las 4: 30 PM en en Golden Gate Community Center. hablarémos de cuales maneras se pueden involucrar.

CCNSP 1_31_13 community mtg flyer SP

CCNSP 1_31_13 community mtg flyer SP

The announcement of 287g being phased out is not a sigh of relief

Earlier in February, the announcement of the 287g program being phased out came as shock to many people. For organizers and community activists, it definitely represents a move that supposedly was meant to take away a “bad” program and replace it with an even “badder” one, Secure Communities.  For the Obama administration, it’s a step in the “right direction”–eliminating funding to the least productive agreements to date. In other words, those counties that are NOT deporting the number of immigrants that they are supposed to will not see Uncle Sam giving them money for their troubles. To think that the productivity of a program lies in its ability to mass incarcerate and deport fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.

In a USA Today article, the Department of Homeland Security will save $17 million dollars in phasing out 287g. Since all contracts between ICE and local enforcement run three years, some agreements will be up by this year. In Collier County’s case, the agreement will be up by October.

Collier County’s Sheriff, Kevin Rambosk, recently mentioned in a Newspress article that he will seek renewal. 287g has been around since October 2007 and was renewed in 2009. The program has come under fire for various reasons but most notably, because of Maricopa County’s own Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the many violations that were found under his agreement with ICE. Particularly, reports from  MPI and the OIG state that the directives of 287g are not being meant. 287g is supposed to prioritize those individuals who pose serious national security and public safety risks. However, vast majority of the agreements are run to identify ALL individuals with minor violations, which include traffic offenses like driving without a license.

In this area, the people who we talk to through our community initiative, the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project, are victims of this dragnet program and are caught through traffic stops and minor violations. We are talking about people getting caught for something that, in social and legal terms, isn’t deemed a violent or aggravated crime. This includes driving without a license, petty theft and DUI. These same folks tell us that because of the fact that they are getting questioned for their immigration status by the police, it doesn’t make sense to call them to report a crime or for help. What’s even more disturbing is that domestic violence victims say that they rather take a beating than call the police and file a report. How does that make any sense?

So, technically, 287g being phased out is supposed to make me happy for all the reasons I just mentioned above. But it doesn’t. In fact, it sends me into a panic attack knowing that Secure Communities, which already exists in every county in the state of Florida, could be fully operational nationwide by 2013. Secure Communities will allow police to cross reference national security databases with their own through fingerprints. It disturbs many advocates and community members because of its lack of transparency, oversight and accountability both at the national and local level. Police officers would make the arbitrary decision to identify someone walking down the street as being “undocumented” and could follow up by taking their prints and that’s it–that’s all it takes. They are in the system. I mean, making this fully operational at a national level will only mean that it’ll be easier to institutionalize racial profiling without anyone ever noticing what is happening in the first place.

This whole thing is like playing Mario Brothers. What good is it that Mario kills King Koopa’s posse if they just reappear again, bigger and badder? We don’t get what we should. We get WORSE. Needless to say, this announcement is definitely not a sigh of relief. It only means that the fight just kicked into overtime.

The Catholic Church says “Secure Communities is flawed”

A Baltimore Sun article states that the Catholic Church has concerns surrounding the Secure Communities program, a program that casts a wide dragnet to identify and deport undocumented immigrants.

The Catholic Church says that “the concern of the welfare of migrants stems from its belief that immigration is ultimately a humanitarian issue because it impacts the basic human rights and dignity of the human person. The Church believes this dignity is undermined by this program’s alleged channeling of immigrants into the criminal justice system through racial profiling and pre-textual arrests for the purpose of vetting them for their immigration status. Because Secure Communities is operated at the point of arrest, rather than post-conviction, it casts a wide net over virtually any immigrant who has come into contact with the criminal justice system. ”

Read more here