SEIU Local 1991 joined Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a host of advocates for a revealing discussion about the fears immigrants face in South Florida due to stepped up deportations and ICE raids.
Magalie Pena Vancol, JHS Social Worker and SEIU Local 1991 Secretary, participated in the immigration roundtable. She is quoted in this Sun Sentinel news article.
South Florida leaders call on President Trump to protect immigrants
South Florida leaders called on President Donald Trump to protect immigrants who face deportation under his administration’s policies, which they said are an attempt to ‘bleach’ the country.
Trump’s plan includes scaling back Temporary Protected Status, which allows immigrants to stay in the U.S. because of severe circumstances in their own country, and the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program that allowed some people who arrived here as children, so called “Dreamers” to receive deferments from deportation.
Since the president last September ended the DACA program, Senate Democrats have tried to gain some relief for those young undocumented immigrants by demanding that a fix to DACA be linked to budget approval. But they have dropped that demand under an agreement with House Republicans to revisit the immigration issue next month.
Broward School Board members, who previously supported Temporary Protected Status for students, staff and administrators, painted a picture in which many immigrants live in fear of being deported and have changed their daily routines based on that fear.
Magalie Pena Vancol, a member of the Service Employees International Union 1991, said many people in her community are afraid to leave their homes out of fear they may be detained. Born in Haiti, she has lived in the U.S. since 1977.
“They don’t even go to church because they are afraid, they don’t know when immigration will open the door.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, who hosted Monday’s immigration roundtable in Sunrise, denounced Trump’s policies as “horrific.” “He is attempting to bleach out diversity in this country,” she said.
Wasserman Schultz said her goal is to give immigrants “some hope that there are elected officials who will stand up and push back.”
Trump has denied that his immigration policy is racist, and has said that Democrats are unwilling to come to an acceptable compromise.
Farah Larrieux, a businesswoman who arrived 13 years ago from Haiti on Temporary Protected Status, said since the president announced that Haitians would lose that status, she lives daily under the specter of deportation.
“It takes a lot of energy, motivation, courage, every day … to plan my daily routine … I’m trying to not stress myself on that, to remain optimistic.”