MIAMI, FL – Yesterday former Congressman Joe Garcia headlined an immigrant rights forum organized by a coalition of immigration groups. All candidates in Florida’s 26th congressional race were invited to participate. Garcia’s primary opponent initially confirmed her attendance but later canceled, while Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo declined to attend altogether.
During the forum, Garcia laid out his plan for comprehensive immigration reform, outlining the bill he sponsored in the 113th Congress -- the only Comprehensive Immigration bill with bi-partisan support.
"I’m grateful that so many prominent advocates in the immigration movement chose to have this important discussion," said Joe Garcia candidate for Florida’s 26th Congressional District. "I led the push for comprehensive immigration reform in the House because I believe keeping families together and giving hard working immigrants a pathway forward is the best way to make our country stronger.”
The event organizers were Friends of Miami-Dade Detainees, We Count!, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Americans for Immigrant Justice, United Families and the Haitian Lawyers Association.
“As an immigrant who grew up in the district, I am personally insulted that members who are running for Congress chose to ignore the opportunity to have a serious dialogue about issues facing our community,” said Javier Hernandez, spokesperson for the Garcia campaign.
Garcia was the sponsor of the last comprehensive immigration reform bill to be filed in the House. When the Republican leadership refused to hold a vote on the bill, Garcia led a group of Democratic lawmakers in asking President Obama to take action, which he did in the form of DAPA and DACA+ .
In comparison, Curbelo has gone on radio to support legal action against deportation protection for millions of families. In the same interview, he flatly said he did "not support amnesty," and called for the deportation of children and teenagers detained during the 2014 border crisis. In Congress, he continued to oppose the President’s use of executive actions over immigration. He is also a die-hard supporter of House Speaker Paul Ryan, even going as far as saying he is “always all-in for Paul Ryan.” The same Paul Ryan who pledged to take no action on immigration reform.