Immigration summit held at the University of Miami

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - Leaders gathered at the University of Miami, Tuesday, to discuss initiatives that may improve immigration.

The four-hour summit reflected on the status of immigration in South Florida and across the United States. “It’s getting the word out,” said Mike Fernandez, founder of the IMPAC FUND.

Fernandez created the IMPAC FUND to protect families and the rights for people who, he said, are being targeted by President Trump’s administration.

“To me, it was embarrassing that we were not being more vocal in standing up for others who are going through this process,” said Fernandez.

Each leader that took the stage spoke passionately about their stance on immigration. “Where we have a choice to make we can recess into the dark shadows where some of us for many generations were kept,” said Miami-Dade County Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “Or we can fight our way into the light and in the process carrying their dignity and their humanity.”

The general benefits of immigration were not the sole topic discussed at the summit as ways to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Temporary Protections Status programs.

“The immediate short-term is we have 300,000 people that, for lack of a better word, are facing a firing squad over the next two months,” said Fernandez. “We have to save 800,000 kids that are the best of the very best.”

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said changes to TPS need to be made, as well. “The ‘T’ needs to leave,” she said. “They should not have temporary protective status. Protective status. It would take generations for Haiti to be able to absorb people back in to live.”

Both programs’ deadlines near as a budget deadline also approaches, but congressman Carlos Curbelo said he will stand strong for immigrants. “I will not support any appropriations bill that funds the government beyond Dec. 31 unless we get this DACA issue resolved,” he said.

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