– Alicia Gazga
Raíces in Tampa has struggled the past two years for all undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in Florida; we had meetings with members of the city council of the City of Tampa. Then got together with five of the seven members who seemed very supportive of the idea of giving licenses to the undocumented, they privately, told us they would sign our resolution showing their support. When we finally attended a City Council Meeting and put our drivers license resolution up to a vote, the City Council acted as if Raíces in Tampa did not know we were talking, typical politicians! They lied by saying they had never seen our resolution and when confronted with having them show support – they backed out. As Raíces in Tampa we understand how City Council will take to opportunism and be against the people of their own city (undocumented or not).
As recently as April 2015, City Council and Tampa City Mayor Bob Buckhorn publicly SIGNED their support in favor of DAPA (the November 2014 executive action of the President)! Time and time again, City Council members like Charlie Miranda have said that City Council cannot and would not support anything outside of the “power of City Council” – giving the excuse that a State of Florida matter was outside of their jurisdiction and even further, that licenses should be attacked through a national angle. But with the recent DAPA support they both signed, they very publicly acknowledge that they INDEED DO have the ability to sign their support in areas outside of the City of Tampa. Raíces in Tampa agrees that supporting DACA and DAPA is a great step for Tampa and Florida, but why are Bob Buckhorn and City Council remaining silent and not supportive of licenses? Their logic makes no sense and their behavior contradicts their own excuses! Raíces in Tampa demands they both do something locally, NOT give us more excuses.
In Tallahassee last week politicians voted against the SB300 bill that would give driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in Florida, and while some say the law was for “safer roads”, Raíces in Tampa continues in the overall struggle for equality! We demand drivers licenses for all of the undocumented immigrants in Florida! The problem is not unsafe roads, we the undocumented, are not the ones who make roads unsafe! The government and politicians can not cover the sun with a finger and attempt to make us think we cannot see through their lies and excuses. Drivers licenses are a basic necessity; to go to work with our heads held high, having an ID to say ‘I am valid’, take our children to school, go to church, all without fear! We demand liberation and equality, not repression and deportations.
SB300 died this year but that does not mean Raíces in Tampa will stop fighting, we will continue pressuring the City of Tampa to support us and the undocumented, we will continue collecting signatures and seeking support from our city. We will continue pressuring Mayor Bob Buckhorn. We want legalization for all and drivers licenses in the state of Florida. Please follow us as we plan our next steps for licenses. Yes we can!
Sign our petition!