CRACKDOWN ON MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS IN TAMPA BAY AREA-Andrew Stelzer
Over the past week, there have been an increasing number of Mexican immigrant arrests in the Tampa bay area. At least 20 workers who are in the United States illegally were arrested up at their job site in Dade City, and there have been reports another 20 in Pasco county, Clearwater and north Tampa. Unconfirmed reports of roadblocks to stop Mexicans on their way to church have many in the community concerned.
Ramone Hernandez is the pastor at St Ritaâ€™s church in Dade city.
ACT â€œthe problem came because one of the men had an accident.â€?
The round up has continued since last Thursday, with reports of police roadblocks or on-the job sting operations in Plant city, Clearwater, St Petersburg North Tampa, and South Tampa. Arnold Andrews works with Catholic Charities.
ACT What were finding is that families are in distress..living in sheer terror and fearâ€?
Sandra Juanita is with the diocese of St Petersburg. She says that every year around this time, there are similar cases of employers turning in their employees
ACT â€œsome people..they just get firedâ€?
But the end of the growing season doesnâ€™t explain all of the people who have been detained. The Clearwater police department says they have heard nothing about the roundups, and say they have a very close relationship with the Mexican community. The mayor of Dade city met with the Mexican consul and advocates from the community earlier this week, to discuss the situation, but there have been no answers as of yet to why the round ups are occurring. Juanita says that there are thousands of people in fear of deportation, and rumors are making the situation worse.
ACT â€œa lot of people are not going to work, even if they have papers, a panic has been createdâ€?
Juanita says church groups got involved because many of their parishners are Mexican, and there are a lot of innocent victims when immigrants are arrested without warning.
ACT â€œour pastoral concern is the childrenâ€?
Pastor Hernandez says that the community held a vigil for those who have been arrested.
ACT â€œwe had a vigilâ€¦300 peopleâ€?
And according to Andrews from Catholic charities, the community itself is responding in its own ways.
ACT â€˜some of the local radio stationsâ€?
The INS, and the mayor of Dade city, did not return WMNFs calls for comment. There have also been rumors that the roundups are part of the department of homeland security. Andrews says he hopes that isnâ€™t the case.
ACT â€œthis could very well be, if so, itâ€™s not a good ideaâ€?
If you are concerned about your own safety, or if you want to donate food for families who are afraid to their homes, contact father Edwin Palka at 727-692-8569comments powered by Disqus