About 40 people protested the Miami meeting Wednesday between U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who led the move to end Miami-Dade’s status as a sanctuary county shortly after President Donald Trump took office.
Sessions attended a conference at Port of Miami, praising Gimenez for ordering county jails to comply with federal immigration detention requests, overturning a 2013 county policy. In February, the County Commission voted 9 to 3 to back Gimenez.
The protestors, who marched to Port of Miami from the Torch of Friendship off Biscayne Boulevard, spent nearly two hours chanting phrases like, “When our families are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
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A handful of people took the bullhorn and shared their own personal immigration stories while denouncing Gimenez, Sessions and Trump.
Maria Rodriguez, one of the organizers, guided the group through a throng of police officers and across busy streets.
“This is our home and we are an immigrant state,” Rodriguez said. “In the same week we have experienced the tragedies of Charlottesville and have continued to endure Trump’s racist policies.”
Julio Calderon, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras, shared his story and struggled to hold back tears in the beating sun.
“I am clearly one of those who is affected by Gimenez,” Calderon said. “I don’t believe that I should be criminalized or deported because I fled a violent country to be here. I don’t deserve that and you can do better, Gimenez.”
Annette Taddeo, Democratic candidate for the District 40 special-election seat in the Florida Senate, attended the rally and spoke about being a Colombian immigrant. She criticized the immigration polices of the Trump administration.
“We know all about Cuban-Americans and their struggle, but what about the Venezuelans and what they are going through right now?” Taddeo said. “Are we going to kick them back to a country where there is so much instability?”