Press and Media Room

For more information about the campaign please contact the communications team @ 305-571-7254  or .


Alex McAnarney (305) 335-5665
Jonathan Luna (786) 873-3596

Silent Theatre highlights the role of private prisons in creating anti-immigrant legislation

As the clock winds down on the Florida legislature, Theatre protests effects of private prison lobby infront of Geo Group shareholder meeting

What:                           Silent Theatre and Protest
Date:                              Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

When and where:     4:00 p.m.
1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd (on Las Olas Blvd)
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Why:   As the three day countdown begins for Florida’s Legislative calendar, two controversial immigration bills are still holding their ground.  A vote on the Florida Senate’s version of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 2040, is pending yet lingering questions over who or what truly catalyzed the creation of these bills remain.

As in Arizona, the private prison lobby has made inroads into influencing the legislative process in Florida.  Beginning with the gubernatorial primaries, both Rick Scott and Attorney General Bill McCollum promised to implement SB 1070 type laws in the state and received contributions from Corrections Corporation of America and GEO group, two of the most prominent private prison companies in the nation.

In the legislature, State Rep. William Snyder (R-Stuart) who drafted HB 7089, a Florida version of Arizona’s law on steroids, also received contributions from Geo Group and CCA. According to a study conducted by the Private Corrections Working Group, the Republican Party of Florida has been the biggest recipient of prison industry cash in the past two years: $37,000 from CCA and $106,000 from the Geo Group.

Based in Boca Raton, the Geo Group already owns two prisons and seven mental hospitals throughout the state. The company would be one of three private prison corporations that would most benefit from a constant influx of detainees.

“Corporations like Geo Group depend on a steady stream of inmates. Immigrants detained for not having their papers in order provide just that,” said Jonathan Luna, Youth Organizer with the Florida Immigrant Coalition, FLIC, “Having two laws that are mutually beneficial are not a coincidence.”

As the lives of millions of men, women and children are being debated in the Senate, legislative budget writers are including a proposal that would expand the privatized prison system in Florida.

Overturning existing anti-prison privatization legislation, the proposal would allow one bidder to bank on a multi-million dollar statewide contract.  However, despite the purported savings private prisons would bring to the state, there are still no hard numbers on what actual savings might be. Moreover, in a study conducted in Texas, Geo Group prisons reported some of the worst juvenile and immigrant detainee abuses on record ranging from sexual assault to suicide caused by prolonged periods of solitary confinement. There even existed a sexual assault contract loophole which enabled the worst sort of sexual misconduct, including one case that involved a detained yet documented Guatemalan immigrant who later became pregnant.

“This sort of legislation draws parallels to undercurrents in our legislature. The anti-immigrant legislation seeks to harm some of Florida’s hardest workers without any real discussion about implementation costs,” said Luna, “The private prison legislation seeks to make prison cot fodder out of Florida’s hardest workers to turn a profit without mentioning implementation costs. Both pieces of legislation are willing to sacrifice Florida for corporate gain.”



April 29th, 2011


 Senate President Mike Haridopolos recklessly risks Florida’s future

Groups express outrage at the complete disregard to the $45 billion pricetag and the opposition of 189 organizations and leaders


On Thursday afternoon, Senate President Mike Haridopolos announced the Senate version of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 2040, will be introduced directly in the Senate floor as soon as possible. Diverse groupsunder the umbrella of the We are Florida campaign express their opposition to the flagrant and reckless disregard to the economic, moral and social impact of this bill on the best interests of the state.

Despite weeks of protests, and the growing opposition and concern of 189 organizations  including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Mayors of Miami, Sarasota and Lake Worth, Sen. Haridopolos insists in moving the bill forward.

 “The Senate President is finally accepting ownership over a legislation no one else wants in Florida, but him. And by pushing it, he is ignoring the voices of opposition of thousands of Floridians, business and faith leaders, and even of Latino legislators in his own party,” says María Rodriguez, Executive Director from the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “This is a slap in the face to Latinos and to all Floridians. It is now clear this is not about what policies are good or bad for Florida anymore. The Senate President is willing to risk the future of Florida for his self-serving career ambitions.”

Since SB 2040 was referred to the Senate Budget Committee, the campaign has demanded a fiscal and economic analysis, both publicly and personally to Sen. J.D. Alexander, chairman of the Committee. However, the analysis was never done, and the Senate President removed the bill from Sen. Alexander’s hands avoiding the economic question.

 “How can the fiscal conservatives pass a bill without knowing how much it will cost taxpayers? Our analysis says immigration enforcement bills could cost Florida around $45 billion. If this passes, it will destroy Florida’s future,” says Subhash Kateel, state coordinator of the We are Florida campaign. “Who will foot the bill? While there is no money for unemployment compensation for victims of domestic violence, pensions of public employees, healthcare for medically needy, or even for education,Senator Haridopolos is choosing reckless spending on scapegoating and exclusion.”



Natalia Jaramillo (786) 317-3524
April 27th, 2011 – Yesterday, groups representing the We are Florida campaign received notification of a recent letter/complaint to the immigration

authorities by Geoff Ross, President of the Emerald Coast Tea Party Patriots, asking Homeland Security to open an investigation on Sen. Anitere Flores and Sen. Alexander for not reporting Floridians visiting their offices at the State Captiol during a week of action against Arizona-like immigration laws. The complaint argues they are “suspected illegal immigrants”.

The Florida Immigrant Coalition sent out a letter to Immigration Costums Enforcement (ICE).

See below the letter and the original message sent by Mr. Ross.

*Attn: *
Marc Moore, ICE Field Office Director;
David Bradley, ICE Assistant Field Officer Director;
Simone Lee-Fatt, Supervisory Deportation Officer;
Beth Gibson, ICE Headquarters;
Stephanie Valencia, White House Office of Political Affairs*CC:* Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, National Immigration Forum
April 27, 2011
The Florida Immigrant Coalition -representing organizations from urban and rural cities, agricultural farmworkers, faith groups, youth leaders and
service agencies in Florida of all ethnic backgrounds and nationalities- has received notification of a recent letter/complaint to the immigration
authorities by Geoff Ross, President of the Emerald Coast Tea Party Patriots, profiling constituents in Tallahassee as “illegal aliens”. We see the letter from this gentleman as a threat to the constitutional rights of those gathered in Tallahassee and as a clear indication of the culture of xenophobia and racism that is spreading Arizona copycat legislation slated to destroy Florida’s economy and social progress.We are concerned about the allegations being proposed against localTallahassee residents, clergy, children and other community leaders from
around the state with diverse ethnic backgrounds who are visiting their state representatives to exercise their first amendment rights.
It is important to affirm that elected representatives have no legal authority to question the immigration status of constituents visiting their
offices, nor do they have any legal authority to disclose any information shared in testimony by their constituents without their formal approval and
consent.The community members that have been gathering in Tallahassee have been doing so peacefully and orderly, sharing prayers, bringing blessings, and
carrying the important message of protecting Florida’s families and workers from the potential of racial profiling and unconstitutional criminalization
of Latinos in our state.
We are requesting confirmation that the rights and safety of Floridian children, their families and the workers gathered in Tallahassee will be
ensured.Sincerely,Maria Rodriguez
Executive Director
Florida Immigrant Coalition
8325 NE 2nd Ave #206
(305) 322 – 6705
Miami, Fl. 33138*—– Forwarded Message —-*From: Geoff Ross. <>Sent: Tue, April 26, 2011 10:26:41 PM


Investigation Number: 02223487
*For failure to report and  for engaging in state business with suspected illegal immigrants at the State Capital April 25th and 26th 2011*Dear Patriots,
As I reported yesterday, bus loads of suspected illegal immigrants swarmed the offices of State Senators and our Legislators in Tallahassee
Florida, the highest taxed county in our State. The suspected illegal’s arrived offering baskets of fruit as gifts in exchange to end the
legislative tools being written to protect our state like E verify.Senator Flores and Senator J.D. Alexander engaged in dialogue with these suspected illegal aliens and not one single member of the House or Senate or
Capital Police called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Homeland In-Security to report these alleged criminals.I called Senator Flores office today at (850-487-5130) but Senator Flores was tied up in a budget meeting.  Her personal aid confirmed to me that
Senator Flores did speak with these non English speaking Hispanics, but she told me that Senator Flores did not ask these people if they were here
Why not ?
So the question is….if they are not here illegally why are they in the Senators office asking her for citizenship and asking her to shut down E
verify and other tools that we need to secure our state and our borders.
With the information in hand I then called the Sergeant at Arms (The boss in charge of the State Capital Police) at 850-488-8224 and reported the
suspected illegal’s walking freely around the State Capital.  The Capital Police stated the suspected illegal’s were all checked through security and
did not have any weapons.  Well good says I, you have them all rounded up now report these people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  They
So finally folks I called the Homeland Security Investigations office in Washington DC and reported the entire incident including the meetings and
the failure of two Florida State Senators to report suspected illegal immigrants to ICE.  Ref: Senator Flores and Senator J.D. Alexander. I
consider this aiding and abetting suspected illegal immigrants in the State Capital Building.The Homeland Security Investigations Office in Washington will assign an investigation team for me which is now in process and they will be
requesting more information from me tomorrow.
The investigation number to reference this Homeland Security report that is now on file and on the record is  02223487.
SECURE THE BORDERS !!!!  No highway option.
Copy to the Senator Flores and Senator J.D. Alexander.Geoff Ross
United States Navy retired



Natalia Jaramillo (786) 317-3524

Alexandra McAnarney (305) 335-5665




Hundreds of Floridians Mobilize to Tallahassee to Stop Arizona-like laws


What: Hundreds of families depart in buses from Central Florida to join Immigration Week of Action in Tallahassee against Arizona-style immigration laws (see full week agenda below).
When: Monday, April 25th, at 5:00 am
Where: Iglesia El Shadai, 1366 Lakeview Road, Clearwater, FL 33756
Santa Cecilia Catholic Church, 820 Jasmine Way, FL 33756
Why: With only 2 weeks before the legislative session ends, Floridians are calling to stop all Arizona-inspired immigration bills from becoming law in Florida. Immigrant families, farm workers, students, and advocates from throughout the state will gather in Tallahassee for a full week of action against racial profiling bill that will hurt all Floridians.

The Senate version of these bills, SB 2040, was expected to be heard in Budget Committee this week, but hasn’t been set in the agenda yet. HB 7089, the House version, can go to the floor at any time.


Monday, April 25th – Keep the Sun Shining on the Sunshine State

Central Florida delegation. Children march asking to stopdeportations and discrimination against their families.

12:30pm            Children’s March – Capitol Courtyard

1:30pm             Prayerful Legislative visits – Capitol and Senate building

5:00pm             Closingand Vigil – Capitol Courtyard

Tuesday, April 26th – The Hands That Feed You

Palm Beach delegation. Growers and Farm Workers ask Senators to consider economic impact of bills.

9:30am       Farmworker Ofrenda – Outside Knott Building 412

12:00pm    Community Lunch/Honoring the work of Farm Workers

5:00pm       Closing and Vigil – Waller Park (by Dolphins)

Wednesday, April 27th  -The Dream is Alive: Dreamer Day of Action

South Florida delegation. Undocumented students ask legislators for education and not deportation.

10:00am Mock Graduation Location TBD

5:00pm                        Closing and Vigil

Thursday, April 28th –  Faith leaders

North Florida delegation (Tallahassee and Quincy)

12:00pm  Prayer Service and Press Conference

Procession of Faith leaders through building

Stations of the Cross



Natalia Jaramillo (786) 317-3524

Alexandra McAnarney (305) 335-5665

Miami faith leader and Commissioner join Haitian and Latino advocates to oppose racial profiling bills in Florida’s legislature

Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on immigration bill this Monday

What: Press Conference

When: Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Who: Archdeacon Jean Fritz Bazin, Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida

Jean Monestime, Miami-Dade County Commissioner

Marleine Bastien, Director, Fanm Ayisyen Nan Miyami

Alma Aguilera, Unidad Hondureña Independiente

Susana Barciela, Policy Director, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

Jonathan Fried, Director, We Count!

Florida Immigrant Coalition

Where: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 464 NE 16th Street, Miami, Florida 33132

Why: On Monday, March 14th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on their proposed immigration legislation SPB7066, titled “Unauthorized aliens”.

Miami faith leaders and County Commissioner JeanMonestime, join Latino and Haitian immigrant advocates to publicly express their concerns about this bill, send a message to the members of the Judiciary Committee chaired by Sen. Anitere Flores (R-Miami), and inform the immigrant community in South Florida.

“Latinos and Haitians in Miami don’t realize the extent of what is happening in our legislature in Tallahassee. With so many anti-immigrant bills filed during the last week, with terrible consequences for immigrant families and businesses, it is our duty to inform everyone,” said Isabel Vinent, Deputy Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

SPB 7066 forces local police to question the immigration status of any person arrested, even for minor offenses such as traffic violations, and turn them into ICE  (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) even without being convicted of a crime. This will increase unfair detention and deportation of innocent immigrants and potential victims and witnesses of crime. It also mandates e-verify for all businesses under the threat of license revocation.

“We hope Sen. Flores hears our concerns and her Committee reconsiders this bill,” says Vinent.


For more information about the We Are Florida campaign against racial profiling bills, visit

Natalia Jaramillo

Communications Associate

Florida New Majority / Florida Immigrant Coalition

Cel: (786) 317-3524



Natalia Jaramillo (786) 317-3524

Alexandra McAnarney (305) 335-5665

Dangerous Arizona copycat bills moving fast in Florida Senate

Proposed bills criminalize immigrants in Florida and stir community outrage

March 11th, 2011 – Despite recent public statements from Florida Legislators insisting that they are backtracking from Arizona-style racial profiling bills, the most alarming bills were filed in the Legislature this week and were dubbed “the worst of the worst.”

On March 5th, Sen. Evers, chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, unexpectedly filed SB1896. “Every possible provision you could create to destroy our economy, stop job growth, overburden law enforcement, tarnish our state’s name, and permanently alienate our Latino, Caribbean and immigrant communities, can be found in this bill,” said Subhash Kateel, from the Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Several provisions in this bill have already been condemned by groups as diverse as the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Florida, faith leaders, and the vast majority of the population.

As if that weren’t enough, the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Anitere Flores, filed SPB 7066 on Wednesday and will be voted in the Committee on Monday, March 14th. The bill forces local police to question the immigration status of any person arrested, even for minor offenses such as traffic violations, and turn them to ICE without being convicted of any crime. This increases unfair detention and deportation of innocent immigrants and potential victims and witnesses of crime. It also mandates e-verify for all businesses under the threat of license revocation.

“In the midst of Florida’s crisis, our legislators insist in scapegoating immigrants instead of finding real solutions to our problems,” says María Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Attacking immigrants will cause great political theater but it won’t create jobs or reduce Florida’s unemployment and foreclosure rates, among the highest in the country.”

In response, Community organizations and immigrant advocates under the banner of the “We are Florida!” campaign are calling for a March in Tallahassee, Thursday March 17th, to oppose all Arizona-style racial profiling bills in Florida.

“We are going to Tallahassee to remind ourLegislators who is Florida and what is expected from them as our leaders,” says Rodriguez. “We want Senate President Mike Haridopolos to hear Florida’s immigrant community opposition to these bills. He has the power to stop them from being debated or voted on the Senate Floor and his immigrant constituents expect him to do the right thing.”


For more information about our We Are Florida campaign against racial profiling bills, visit

Natalia Jaramillo

Communications Associate

Florida New Majority / Florida Immigrant Coalition

Cel: (786) 317-3524

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