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Miami has always welcomed immigrants like me — don’t stop now | Miami Herald

February 16, 2017

This op-ed was originally posted by the Miami Herald on February 15, 2017. Below is an excerpt.

 

As Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Giménez moved to cooperate with the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrant, a now-grownup kid remembered meeting children around an apartment complex near Westland Mall. 

 

His parents warned him not to say he moved there from Colombia. They dreaded being sent back to a country where leftist guerrillas had just overrun the Supreme Court, and drug cartels were on a killing spree. They had sold everything to start a new life.

 

Back then, getting a driver’s license required passing the test and showing valid identification. Today, undocumented individuals are forbidden from getting a license. Arrests of mothers and fathers trying to drive to work are common. Recently, Giménez agreed to turn these people over to federal immigration authorities — afraid of the label “sanctuary city.” He caved to the dictums spewing from President Trump and the his white nationalist adviser Steve Bannon, who equated himself to King Henry VIII’s right-hand man.

 

[...] Miami is not just politicians kneeling to a man with autocratic instincts. Miami is the Cuban exile teachers who became parents to hundreds; it’s the diverse editors who shaped me; it’s the high school friend who taught me to surf. 

 

To them, I wasn’t the “illegal.” To them I was José, the Hialeah kid.

 

They gave me sanctuary in their own way. Miami should continue that beautiful tradition.

 

 

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