High School Students Supporting Tuition Equity in Florida

As our volunteers continue their visits to high schools in Collier County, they continue to find that support for tuition equity for all students in Florida is overwhelming. Earlier this week, our state House of Representatives passed HB 851, (In-State Tuition for All Florida graduates, regardless of immigration status)  out of its last committee unanimously. While we still have to wait until it reaches the house floor, the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project and several other organizations in the state have been mobilizing and collecting signatures for the state-wide petition that was created in favor of tuition equity for undocumented students.

We need your help! Please, consider adding your name to the already hundreds of names supporting these measures. You can submit your signature electronically HERE and forward it to friends and family. Let’s show our legislators that this is something that we not only want, but also need! Once you’ve done that, show your support visually by submitting an image of yourself holding a sign similar to our high school students below! Email your image to rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org  and we will make sure to showcase you on our Facebook and blog!

Lely High School Students Showing Support

Lely High School Students Showing Support

Gulf Coast High School Students Showing Support

Gulf Coast High School Students Showing Support

Educators and Volunteers Showing Support

Educators and Volunteers Showing Support

Art for Dignity and Justice

I had the great privilege to create a piece on behalf of the Collier County Neighborhood Stories Project for the October 5th National Day of Action March for Dignity and Justice! The piece is currently featured on Culture Strike and Not1MoreDeportation. We, as CCNSP, are very humbled to be able be part of such a pivotal moment for our communities and we will continue demanding dignity and justice for as long as it takes! We hope to see you all out on October 5th, too!

Feel free to share the graphic widely through your social networks! Please, credit Rommy Torrico and link back to collierstoriesmatter.org or blog.collierstoriesmatter.org. We hope to get prints soon so if you’re interested, feel free to email us with your name and the quantity so that we have an idea of how many we will need to order. Send all inquires to rommy@collierstoriesmatter.org

CS real final_1_EDITS_SPAN_letter

Also featured on Not1MoreDeportation is our Paletero piece! We will have 5×8 postcards available on donation at our trainings, events and online. Keep a look out!

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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
news-press.com

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.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Form I-821D

USCIS just released the form for Deferred Action today, August 14th.

Download here and the instructions here

To find out more information regarding the form, fees and application process, visit the USCIS page here