FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - From a rally at the Stephen P. Clark Center in Downtown Miami to a rally outside of Pembroke Pines City Hall in Pembroke Pines, Wednesday marked the third consecutive day of protests in South Florida against President Donald Trump’s administration.
Protesters in South Florida have been fighting back against President Trump’s cabinet picks, a travel ban from seven Middle Eastern countries and multiple policies, ranging from healthcare and education to immigration and environmental issues.
Demonstrators sounded off against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. A rally is scheduled to take place in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, Wednesday, at around 5 p.m., near the Federal Courthouse.
Dozens rallied outside of the office of Senator Marco Rubio, Wednesday morning, to protest against President Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt.
The protest outside of Rubio’s office was planned by Progress For All, a grassroots political and community action group.
“We find he can be very detrimental to our environment,” said Farbod Tehranian with Progress For All, “and he’s very against the administration he’s looking to lead.”
However, Tuesday evening, activists and members of the community were especially enraged about what they said directly impacts South Florida’s immigrant community.
Last Thursday, Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered county officials to comply with President Trump’s strict immigration orders. One of these executive orders included ending all funding to sanctuary cities, like Miami, that decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
In fear of losing federal funding, Gimenez ordered the director of his corrections department to begin honoring all requests made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold immigration suspects in Miami-Dade jails.
Gimenez explained the order, earlier this week. “It concerns prisoners that are in the custody of Miami-Dade County,” Gimenez said, “that are later identified by the federal government as being illegal and somehow in their system, and they want us to detain them for 48 hours max.”
At the rally, Joe Garcia, a former U.S. representative from Florida, said Gimenez, who was born in Cuba, turned his back on immigrants. “From the very origins of this community, people came here to find refuge,” Garcia said. “Carlos Gimenez is a friend of mine, but what Gimenez is, first and foremost, is a refugee.”
Now, undocumented immigrants, such as FIU student Julio Calderon, fear that if for some reason they were to get arrested and jailed, they could get deported.
“I have never been afraid to be out here for my life,” Calderon said as he took the podium at the Stephen P. Clark Center, Tuesday evening. “This is affecting me in a real way, and this is personal for me.”
Calderon has plans to graduate with a degree in economics within the next year.
Other students at FIU gathered at the Modesto Maidique campus with signs to protest about the travel ban. “I think that this ban is, first of all, unconstitutional, besides being morally wrong,” said FIU student Francesca Riccio-Ackerman.
The executive order bans citizens from seven Middle Eastern countries to enter the United States for 90 days. It also suspends admission of refugees for 120 days.
Students at FIU expressed fear of the travel ban, and the university encouraged those who may be affected to refrain from leaving the country.
The university released a statement that read in part, “As a community, we must come together to support those among us who may be feeling particularly vulnerable during this uncertain time.”
“The xenophobic rhetoric, it didn’t just come under Trump,” said FIU student Isra Ibrahim. “It’s been building on, but Trump just basically came on and enflamed it.”
Protesters who are expected to rally together in Fort Lauderdale said Gorsuch has a record of extreme conservatism. They told 7News they hope for a more moderate pick who they believe could help unite the country.
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