Mayor Andrew Gillum is not anti-Semitic but his opponent, Ron DeSantis, pandering to Jewish voters, has tried to paint him as such. Gillum does not support the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions Act against Israel.
Dream Defenders is a group formed in the wake of perceived injustices following the shooting death of a black teen, Trayvon Martin, in Sanford in 2012. The group advocates an alternative to the Stand Your Ground law and lobbies for educational reform and civil rights. While Gillum supports some of these domestic positions, he does not support the group’s views on other topics including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because a group supports a candidate, or attends rallies held by a candidate, it does not mean that the candidate necessarily agrees with all of the positions advocated by that group.
The anti-Semitic attack on Gillum is relevant in Florida because the state has a Jewish population of an estimated 630, 000 Jews, most of whom tend to vote for Democratic candidates. If DeSantis is successful in cutting into Gillum’s potential support from Jews, by falsely claiming Gillum is anti-Semitic, the effect could significantly impact the race for governor.
Members of Alt-right groups, the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis support Ron DeSantis and attend his rallies, but this does not necessarily mean that Mr. DeSantis is a racist or is a Neo-Nazi. This is an assessment which I make of Mr. DeSantis but does not extend to his mentor, President Trump, who has not only expressed racist and neo-Nazi views, but has also acted in ways that reflect his own racism.
As a practicing immigration attorney I read with great interest your front page story concerning the detention of individuals who appear at USCIS field offices with their U.S. citizen spouses for interviews regarding their marriage petitions. While this is not an entirely new phenomenon, in the past such detentions were limited to individuals who had outstanding orders of removal or who had serious criminal convictions that made them subject to removal. Today the risk is there for any alien who is not in lawful status at the time of the interview and cannot adjust status immediately.
The ten year bar to readmission was passed in 1996 and went into effect in April of 1997. There was always a waiver available, even from the outset. The change that was made in 2013 was the adoption of the "provisional waiver", which allowed individuals who were subject to the bar to apply for the waiver and have it adjudicated before departing the United States. Under previous practice individuals were forced to leave their families behind and wait for extended periods of time in their home countries while USCIS adjudicated the request. This left families divided, often without their principal wage-earner, for periods as long as a year or more. The cruelest part of the current administration's policy is the refusal to grant stays of removal or continuances in removal proceedings to allow for the filing and adjudication of these waiver requests, something that was regular practice in prior years. Yes, I do understand the position of those who say that people who break the immigration laws should be punished. But the current policies punish innocent spouses and children, most of whom are U.S. citizens, as well. This is unconscionable. We would be better served by reinstating the law as it was prior to May 1, 2001, under which individuals who had violated the immigration laws could legalize upon paying a substantial financial penalty.
David A. Silk
Rostova Westerman Law Group
4901 NW 17th Way, Suite 504
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309