Caribbean Americans join hundreds protesting immigration policy

By Garth A. Rose

Source: Rep Wilson's Twitter page

Though not as much as some would have wanted to see, several Caribbean-American residents were among hundreds protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policy in Fort Lauderdale and Homesteaded in South Miami-Dade over the past weekend.

It has been estimated that out of a crowd of some 350 people protesting outside the federal courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, approximately 30 were identified as Caribbean-Americans. Some 90 percent of the protestors were identified as White.

Caribbean-American immigration attorney, Dahlia Walker-Huntington, said, she was initially disappointed seeing “just a handful of Caribbean-Americans.”

“After all, we are an immigrant community and the immigration policies do affect our community one way or the other,” she added.

However, Walker-Huntington said on speaking with several of the White protestors, she was pleased to realize that “they empathized strongly with the immigrant communities, including Hispanics and Caribbean-Americans, and through their protests, are demanding change.”

Caribbean American elected officials

The Caribbean-American community was ably represented at three protests by several elected officials including, Florida Representative Barrington Russel; Broward Commissioner Dale Holness; and City of Lauderdale Lake Mayor Hazelle Rogers,

Protestors carried posters and banners protesting separating children from families caught crossing the US borders illegally; the ending of TPS for thousands of immigrants from Haiti, Africa and Central America nations; and other aspects of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policy.

Addressed by Congressional reps

The protestors were addressed by several Democratic-elected officials, including U.S. Reps Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tallahassee Mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum.

Protestors loudly punctuated the speeches with shouts of “Shame On You” and “Don’t Separate Babies.”

One protestor wore a khaki shirt with the words: “I Really Do Care, Do You?” on the back, clearly mimicking the words, “I Don’t Care, Do You?” written on the back of the jacket First Lady Melania Trump on board Air Force One as she travelled to Texas to visit migrant children detained and separated from their parents.

Protesters in Homestead march

On Saturday evening in Homestead, according to Ruddy Scarlett, a Caribbean-American resident of West Kendall, there were some 60 Caribbean-Americans among the crowd of some 500 protestors who marched to the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children, which is housing about 1,200 migrant children, including 70 recently separated from their parents at the border.

Marchers, many accompanied by their own children, also carried banners protesting the Trump immigration policy and chanted “Shame on You,” “No Hate, No Fear,” and “Immigrants Are Welcome Here.” Some protestors left stuffed animals outside the shelter.

Late last week, Wasserman-Schultz and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, were denied entry to the shelter but along with Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, D-Miami Gardens, were permitted to tour the facility before the protest march.

Children treated well

Wasserman-Schultz told reporters that the children were being treated well but wondered if they were being treated as well on the day she and the other officials were denied entry. She also told the Miami Herald that two other shelters in Miami-Dade County were housing young children who were 5 and younger.

Those shelters were His House Children’s Home in Miami Gardens and Catholic Charities’ Msgr. Bryan Walsh Children’s Village, formerly known as Boys Town, in Cutler Bay.

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