Immigrants stage sit-in in Senate prez officeby Dara Kam | April 27th, 2011
They may have a long wait, however.
Haridopolos’ spokesman David Bishop said the president is too busy during the last few days of the legislative session to meet again with the immigrants and their advocates. Yesterday, Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, made an impromptu visit with dozens of Palm Beach County immigrants, including children, who pleaded with him to publicly denounce the House and Senate plans to crack down on illegal immigration.
The student sit-in is part of an all-out push to convince lawmakers to drop immigration reform before the session ends on May 6.
St. Thomas University student Felipe Matos, an undocumented immigrant from Brazil and one of the leaders of the group, said he and his cohorts would stay as long as the building was open.
“We’re going to stay seated. We’re not here to confront anyone,” Matos said as Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Donald Severance cleared the room of those sitting on the floor.
Matos is trying to get Haridopolos to sign a pledge to oppose HB 7089 and SB 2040. Both bills are currently stalled as lawmakers await Gov. Rick Scott’s input on the measures. Scott has said he wants to give law enforcement officers the ability to ask for proof of immigration but has not elaborated on how far he thinks the law should go. Scott is expected to reveal more about his plans today.
Haridopolos, who removed the doors to his inner office after assuming the helm of the Senate as a symbol of his openness, won’t sign the pledge, Bishop said.
“This is a symbol that he’s against us,” said Matos.
National immigrant advocates issued a press release calling for a boycott of Florida unless the bills are abandoned, Matos said.
“We want to make sure Florida doesn’t get seen as anti-Latino, anti-employment. This is a job killer,” he said.