Pro-immigration demonstrators rally for Republican Rep. Bill Young's support

07/16/13 Janelle Irwin
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A small group of pro-immigration demonstrators waved signs in front of a Largo restaurant where Republican member of Congress Bill Young was dining Monday night. So far, Young has not supported an immigration bill in the House that includes a pathway to citizenship. Jasmine Forcan, a Bosnian immigrant, said the bill should be a partisan issue.

“They’re tearing families apart; the kids are suffering being traumatized. It’s just not – when I came here 40 years ago, it was much easier to get into the country. I think they should stop deporting immediately.”

The bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of 8 U.S. Senators and has already passed the Senate. It’s now waiting on a House vote, but Republicans are reluctant to pass a bill that doesn’t include beefed up border security. One of the eight pro-immigrant activists, Nellie Rodriguez, said the bill already includes a plan for increased border patrol.

“They could do that meanwhile, but they don’t have to wait to increase the border in order to pass the bill. This is another issue that they should work on it. I mean, it’s important, but in this case they should do it, but let the reform go through.”

The group gathered in front of Alfano’s Restaurant to make a plea to 43-year member of Congress Bill Young who was there receiving an award from Largo Republicans. One of them, Curtis Holmes, said he’s not anti-immigration because this country was founded it.

“But, everybody who did come here paid a price.”

Holmes wouldn’t say whether he was for or against the bill as it passed the Senate, but he does favor some sort of immigration reform as long as it includes closed borders.

“If you’re gong to have comprehensive immigration reform in this country – number one – you can’t have open borders. No society has ever survived with open borders, it’s never happened. So, number one you have to secure the borders.”

Holmes came out of the restaurant to find out why the group was protesting. Rodriguez, the demonstrator who pointed out the bill already includes increased border patrol, listened intently as he talked about work visas and farmworker oversight. After, she said the mixed bag of talking points is watering down the legislation.

“Now, when it goes to the Representatives and everybody [has] a different idea about this, all they do is make it a worse problem. That’s my concern is that it won’t pass because people have other criteria and other things and really, it’s not going anywhere.”

Another protester, Linda Stuller, held a sign asking Bill Young to do the right thing by reaching across the aisle. Many Republicans have argued the legislation creates amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Stuller pointed to the pathway to citizenship in the bill which includes thousands of dollars in fees and taxes as well as extensive waiting periods.

“We have 11 million people here who are in a sub-class that we need to deal with and what makes sense to me is to have the kind of pathway to citizenship that there are requirements they have to meet. It’s not an open ended kind of thing. It’s not amnesty where people can just pour in through the border and just give out citizenship – we’re not giving out citizenship.”

Some critics of the immigration bill also argue there is already a pathway to citizenship. People in the country without documentation could return to their countries and then come back into the United States legally. But Stuller said that takes too long and isn’t always an option.

“The idea that people who have established homes here, who have families are going to leave and then sit there for 20 years while their children grow up here is just a horrible situation and if that’s the answer that people have, it’s not good enough for me.”

The group of activists said the showing was small because many immigration supporters were at a different meeting. There will be another rally July 24th at 6 in the afternoon in Pinellas Park. People will wave signs on the corner of U.S. 19 and Park Boulevard.

Previous coverage of the immigration bill

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The time is now and this issue is too important. Congressman Bill Young needs to stand up and support 11 million Immigrant Americans!

We need a fair pathway to citizenship. #immigration makes our country stronger

Thanks for reporting on this issue. Much more needs to be said about comprehensive immigration reform and this helps the effort to get people informed.

The time is now for compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform. Representative Young should support it. Thanks for the fair article.

This diverse group of concerned citizens reflects the polls that 70% of voters in both Florida and Rep. Bill Young's District 13 support a comprehensive bill and a path to citizenship. Rep Bill Young and his conservative allies has to know that the consequences for not voting to support reform will be worse than the threat that the tea party now poses.

Bill Young has consistently rebuffed any meaningful dialogue with his constituency on the issue of immigration reform. It appears that his handlers are now running the show. It's time to retire sir.

The current immigration system is inhumane and creates second class residents with no basic human rights protection much less civil rights protection. This is a human issue that parallels the same tragedies involved in the Trayvon Martin case only undocumented workers who are being violated cannot protest in the state or nation's capitol. Demand a path to citizenship. The path to citizenship is the path to freedom.

I hope we can count on Congressman Young to #dotherightthing and support the Senate's immigration reform bill.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform with a path to citizenship is long overdue. The House needs to act, to take advantage of this rare opportunity to make some order out of the unjust chaos that now exists.

There are so many reasons why Comprehensive Immigration Reform is badly needed. It has to include a pathway to citizenship for those in our country. Obstructionism is no way to go. Bill Young should do the right thing, and support a bill with a clear pathway to citizenship for all those in this country.

The current policy is flawed and does tear families apart. My wife came hear almost 2.5 years ago. We only PLANNED for her to be here for a short visit. We fell in love and though neither of us planned to we got married. We got ripped off by a group from california who after getting us started and taking our money they disappeared. We are working to get the money to start again. My wife cannot work even though she wants to. The atty who wants 7500 plus the govt fee was not much help. She has nightmares that "they" are going to come take her from bed. She acording to the atty is simply out of status. She came here legally and is now married to me. Im born and raised hete

We're all immigrants. Even those of us with English surnames, like Young or Compton. Immigrants always have, and always will be, the lifeblood of our nation, the source of new energy and perspectives. Each generation of immigrants always includes the most brilliant and most highly motivated, the kind of people who've made America great and the critical element in keeping it a great country. Get with it, Rep. Young, and support what it takes to keep this country strong - immigrants!

A Comprehensive Immigration Reform is strongly needed! This country was founded from immigrants! One of the great things about this country is that it's a melting pot.

So...Bill Young, whose ancestors most likely emigrated from England, has collected a paycheck for nearly half a century that was funded by tax-paying immigrants. Now he wants to send these folks back, if he can, and that ones that stay can pay him for another 13 or so years without being able to draw down on benefits from said paid revenues? Mr. Young has been in office since I was a child, and while I and my community have evolved, he has not. He just cannot seem to understand the population he represents is diverse, and we need him to stand up for our families, our friends, and our community.

The Senate bill does included beefed up border security - to the tune of 46 BILLION dollars! Which is, as one republican correctly stated, "over kill". The FACT is that net migration is currently at ZERO, and has been for quite some time. We currently spend 18 BILLION on Enforcement and Border Security, and previously established border security benchmarks (set in 2006, 2007 & 2010) have been met, and in some cases exceeded! The argument that the border is "open" and not secure is just simply not true. The president has demonstrated a good faith effort to try to address the republican's demands for more border security, and with all the facts and figures to prove it, not to mention all the pictures and video ... Here we were, STILL talking about the border. The is an excuse to delay passing COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. The Senate bill, while not perfect, is the best chance we have at keeping families together and reuniting families that have been unjustly torn apart. I for one am sick and tired of hearing lame excuses. It is time to act and take this issue seriously and move with a sense of purpose. Why the urgency? Because 1200+ families are being torn apart each day while these representatives take their time to "step by step" recreate the wheel, when they have a shiny new one right in their face. Enough is enough. The people of FL want immigration reform NOW!

C'mon Rep. Young. Be a leader on this. Our immigration policy has to be more sensible and humane that "build a fence/shut down the border and round em all up." Insanity...

It is time for Congressman Young to get behind Comprehensive Immigration Reform. During meetings with the Congressman he has indicated he supports it; but he hasn't moved on it yet. I would hope that with his many years of experience, he could get this done!

I get so angry that money in thr republican party dictates that they play partisan politics with this issue. There is no intelligent way to explain how you are against real immigration reform, but that is the modern day republican party . . . the party of how much money is in it for me and yes sir Mr. Norquist.

Immigration reform is long overdue. Rep Young is out of touch,and defends an outdated position that even many in his party have abandoned. I don't think he represents the view of his constituents on this issue.

It is time to pass comprehensive immigration reform with wasting billions on the border. Our congresspersons need to declare themselves

Bill Young needs to listen to his constituents and do the right thing. We are a country of immigrants and we need a path to citizenship.

Bill Young needs to listen to his constituents and do the right thing. We are a country of immigrants and we need a path to citizenship.

By now passing a reasonable Immigration policy should be a no brainer- obvious to everyone who cares about fairness.

Building a fair immigration policy is simply the right thing to do. To bring up the obvious, unless you area full-blooded American Indian, you are the descendant of immigrants.

A way too important subject matter to be ignored

Bill Young: The time has come to pass a fair and comprehensive immigration policy.

You allowed the people to come in and did nothing to control the situation by arresting the employers. Now come up and pass a pathway to citizenship.

Congressman Young needs to be a leader and act on behalf of the 11 million Aspiring Americans in this country.

Immigration reform needs to pass. America was built on welcoming people to our shores. The current system, splitting families, holding the threat of returning 20+ year olds to countries they have never seen, makes no sense whatsoever. Vote Yes Congressman Young.

Immigration reform needs to pass. America was built on welcoming people to our shores. The current system, splitting families, holding the threat of returning 20+ year olds to countries they have never seen, makes no sense whatsoever. Vote Yes Congressman Young.

great article - keep up the good work!

Immigration is very important to the American society. I, myself, have immigrated from Germany and see the greatness that the US has to offer. Being a world leader requires interacting acting like a leader, and putting out heads in the sand and not helping out people who have lived here there whole entire lives is not an act of leadership. We need to change the immigration system pronto.

Bill Young needs to support comprehensive immigration reform now. This issue is too important to ignore.

Bill Young seems to think if he waits long enough he can see which is the the winning team to join. This is not leadership and is not good for his state nor country. Immigration is essential to our economy and future. Ignoring it will not solve the problem.

Excellent article. It's way past time to resolve this issue fairly, with a path to citizenship. How hypocritical we tend to be in this country. Our businesses invited these undocumented workers in because it was good for their bottom line. If it's about profits, it's okay, but if it's about treating the workers fairly, forget it.

Bill Young should stand up now and be a leader on immigration reform. History will be on his side if he does. It's a better course than standing in the background and testing which way the political winds blow.

As a granddaughter of Portuguese immigrants I support a comprehensive immigration bill that will take our heads out of the sand about the reality of immigrants who live amongst us and provide important services. Let's support a bill that will be compassionate and not perpetuate hate towards those who only want a better life for themselves and their children. We need to provide this for the well being of all Americans.