A group of progressive Miami activists marked the start of Florida's annual lawmaking session Monday by protesting outside the district office of a Republican state representative.
More than a dozen activists brought together by the SEIU Florida labor union convened reporters to blast the GOP on a variety of issues, including for trying to crack down on illegal immigration and not raising the minimum wage. They stood in the rain outside the Doral office of Rep. Carlos Trujillo, who is sponsoring legislation that would make it a first-degree felony for someone with a deportation order to continue living in Florida.
"They may think that we don't vote, that we don't have a voice," said Maria Bilbao, who has been in the country illegally for 15 years. But she pledged to knock on voters' doors to oppose politicians like Trujillo and pointed to her son, a legal resident eager to apply for citizenship and, eventually, vote. "He will remember how they treated his parents all these years."
Laura Pierre, a fast-food worker, backed a $15-an-hour minimum wage: "We work hard, and we deserve to be able to raise our families out of these terrible circumstances," she said.
The activists have organized buses of supporters to ride to Tallahassee during the session make their case.