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Tampa immigrant rights protest demands end to delay of Deferred Action

By Marisol Márquez

Tampa protesters demand end to delay of Deferred Action and legalization now.

Tampa, FL – Two dozen people gathered at the store La Mexicana, Feb. 23, demanding Texan Federal District Judge Andrew Henan lift his block on Deferred Action.

Alicia Gazga of Raíces en Tampa was leading the crowd in chants like, “Hey Henan, stop the delay! We want DAPA for all, today!” and “No more deportations! We want liberation!”

Last week, Hanen’s decision stopped the expansion of the program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which was set to start Feb. 18. The block may even delay the start of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) which was supposed to begin in mid-May.

Raíces en Tampa initiated the emergency action to protest Henan's actions against immigrants. Members of the Tampa Light Brigade, Student Farm-worker Alliance, the Tampa Committee to Stop FBI Repression and Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society were also present to express their solidarity.

Daisy Garcia, a student at the University of South Florida attended her first Raíces en Tampa event and said, “We are all standing together with signs that reflect our demands, but each of us also shares a common purpose. This purpose is to stand against those who oppress us. We have to fight for our rights and demand that not one more person be deported.”

“We as Raíces en Tampa decided to do this emergency action because it is necessary,” said Norberto Gazga of Raíces en Tampa. “We can't keep having politicians playing with people's lives. While the politicians decide whether or not to pass a piece of legislation, more immigrant families keep getting divided! We need DAPA and DACA! We need legalization for all!”

While the delays to DACA and DAPA continue, we should also stick with local demands against deportations and for driver's licenses. The state of Florida is among the many states which still do not allow an undocumented immigrant the ability to obtain a driver's license. If an immigrant is pulled over more than three times for driving without a license, they could face a felony charge or a deportation.

The crowd ended with Catherine Lim and Matt Hastings of Raíces en Tampa handing out flyers about the upcoming rally against Tampa City Council. The flyer includes a photo of Tampa City Council member Yolie Capin with the word “liar” written across her portrait. Raíces en Tampa met in 2014 with all but one city council member. During each meeting, Raíces en Tampa asked each member to support a resolution for licenses. Because of the positive feedback each council member had given Raíces en Tampa, they decided to put the resolution up for a vote. But when the vote was presented, all of the City Council members who had met with Raíces en Tampa lied and said they had never met with any of them. Capin is among the liars and she, like the other council members, is up for re-election.

“Our rally will not only spotlight these lies, but demand from the city council exactly what the title of our rally is: 'Stop lying, support licenses!'” said Alicia Gazga. “We hope to see everyone come out on Thursday and that everyone is just as angry with city council as we are!”

To RSVP to the event via facebook go here: To sign the petition supporting licenses being issued to the undocumented, go here:

Marisol Márquez a member of Raíces en Tampa and a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

#TampaFL #PeoplesStruggles #immigrantRights #deferredAction