South Florida’s status as a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants, where many cities do not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining individuals pegged for deportation, may collapse soon if two recently proposed bills are passed in the state senate.Despite protests from advocates gathered in Tallahassee, the House Civil Justice Committee approved the “sanctuary city” Bill HB 675, sponsored by Rep. Larry Metz, R-Yalaha, which would charge $5,000 a day to police and other local officials who do not cooperate with ICE in detaining individuals with deportation orders. The Justice Appropriations Subcommittee also approved Bill HB 9, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Trujillo R-Miami, which would make it a felony to live in Florida with a deportation order. While Democrats on both committees voted against the two bills, the bills received full support from Republican representatives.One protester, a Jamaican undocumented immigrant giving his name only as “Washy,” expressed grief over the recent vote, fearing “if this law pass, plenty people going to be deported.”Attorney Gloria Pratt of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FIC), said the law will indeed affect “thousands of undocumented immigrants, and “will reverse immigration advances in Florida several years.”According to a report from the Floridians for Immigration Enforcement (FLIMEN), there are over 950,000 undocumented immigrants in the state in 2014. There is no clear data regarding the number of undocumented immigrants from the Caribbean residing in Florida and the wider U.S. But the fraction of undocumented immigrants that were caught and deported to Caribbean in 2015 was nearly 3,700, with the Dominican Republic and Jamaica ranking fifth and tenth respectively among the nations with the most deportees.Deportation, however, is just one concern for immigrant communities in South Florida, says Pratt, arguing that the law “will likely elevate distrust between law enforcement and immigrants.”“The two bills place new risks on the police, as well as the general public,” also notes Democrat Representative Cynthia Stafford, Miami. “If the law passes, police will be cautious of facing huge fines if they fail to report undocumented immigrants.”And though Bill HB 675 includes some exceptions for witnesses and victims of a crime, the mere threat of a felony, says Rep. Stafford, may be enough for “some immigrants who need the assistance in dire circumstances to be afraid to deal with the police.”One Miami-Dade police officer, speaking to the National Weekly under anonymity, says the laws would also “place undue pressure on county jails to hold potential deportees, and on the police to apprehend those who they ‘believed’ to be undocumented.”Metz, however, defended the bill, saying that although he sympathized with the protestors, the law is needed to protect the security of the state. Metz pointed to last year’s shooting of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco by a five-time deportee who was not detained by local authorities despite requests from the ICE.“That should never happen anywhere,” said Metz. “The intent of this bill is to make sure it never happens in the state of Florida.”
The future generation of the country’s cycling continues to be shepherded by national cycling coach, Hassan Mohammed, who rolled out the 42nd Teach Them Young Cycling programme at the inner circuit of the National Park, Thomas Lands yesterday. The event, which saw over 20 young riders take the breeding ground of national cyclists, was ushered in by Mohammed who welcomed the youngsters and commended the parents who afforded their children the opportunity to take part in the free progamme. The future national athletes were taught the basics such as stamina, art of pedalling, bike settings, endurance, tailing, cornering, pacing, sheltering and overtaking.According to Mohammed, the programme, which comes under the National Sports Commission’s summer actitivites, provides an opportunity for the youngsters to come out and have a good time while developing themselves in a sport that gives them a healthy lifestyle as well as provides them with the opportunity to represent Guyana should they excel.The majority of the riders were first timers coming from as far as Coverden, East Bank Demerara with some of them also being second generation riders such as Lennox Jackman, who has already in two cycling meets, shown improvement as he goes along. The programme also teaches youngsters life skills as they socialize with each other and provides outdoor fun as a lot of the children have been beset with indoor electronic forms of entertainment.Mohammed said that the event is not limited to those who have already turned up but suggested that anyone who wants to come forward and learn the sport is free to do so, all that is required is protective gear such as helmet and a bicycle and they can join in the fun from 09:00h-11:00h daily.The programme has groomed 95 percent of the cyclists that have represented Guyana including current Secretary General of the Guyana Olympic Association, Hector Edwards, who was part of the inaugural programme in 1976. And as the years rolled by the likes of Marcus and Noel Fiedtkou, Byron and Bertram James, Godfrey Pollydore, Dwayne Gibbs, Linden Dowridge, Robin Persaud, Eric Sankar, Tyrone Hamilton, the late Troy Humphrey, Alex and Reginald Mendes, Junior Niles, Geron Williams, Warren McKay, Raynauth Jeffrey, Michael Anthony, Hamza Eastman, Raphael Leung and Jamal John have participated in the programme.
MIDWAY — Thirty-four golfers have joined the field for this weekend’s Siegfried & Jensen Utah Open through Monday’s qualifier at the Soldier Hollow Gold Golf Course.Among the 34 who will compete in the 54-hole tournament at Riverside Country Club Friday through Sunday are several local golfers, including Dane Nelson, who led all qualifiers with a 66. Others with Utah ties are Garrett Fotu and C.J. Lee at 67, Preston Alder at 68, JT Timmons, Braxton Miller and amateurs Kenny You and Austin Banz at 69, amateur Jacob Boyce at 70 and Joe Parkinson and amateurs Blake Tomlinson, Chase Lansford, Stephen Lindsey and Oscar Maxfield at 71.