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Central Floridians protest the state's new immigration law, joining others nationwide

Hundreds of crane operators and farm workers, along with their families, gathered in  Orlando calling for Florida’s new immigration law to be repealed.
Danielle Prieur
Hundreds of crane operators and farm workers, along with their families, gathered in Orlando calling for Florida’s new immigration law to be repealed.

Central Florida workers and their families joined a nationwide immigrant work strike Thursday to protest Florida’s new immigration law.

Central Florida workers and their families joined a nationwide immigrant work strike Thursday to protest Florida’s new immigration law.

Hundreds of crane operators and farm workers, along with their families, gathered in Orlando, calling for Florida’s new immigration law to be repealed.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, makes it illegal to transport or shelter undocumented people. It also increases fines for hiring undocumented workers, and hospitals will have to ask about a person’s immigration status.

Immigrant advocacy group Hope Community Center led a protest. Director Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet said the fight against the law is one of good versus evil.

“It is a movement of everyday people and I truly believe that sometimes sometimes David wins against Goliath and this is a fight for our rights, it's a fight for our existence.”

Sousa-Lazaballet said the fight for worker and immigrant rights is about much more than that: it's about protecting democracy as we know it.

“It is a fight for the soul of this country," said Sousa-Lazaballet. "We are a people who have come to this country to give our all. Immigrants are not the problem. We are the solution.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis says the new law is needed to curb immigration into the United States.

Here are some stats about immigration in Floridacourtesy of the American Immigration Council, an immigration think tank in Washington, DC:

  • More than one in five Florida residents is an immigrant.
  • More than half of all immigrants in Florida are naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • More than 425,000 U.S. citizens in Florida live with at least one family member who is undocumented.
  • Florida is home to more than 24,000 DREAMers.
  • Immigrants in Florida have contributed tens of billions of dollars in taxes.

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Danielle Prieur