This week, Joe Garcia, candidate for Florida’s 26th Congressional District, unveiled his vision for a more effective justice system that focuses on rehabilitation and opportunity, he appeared on radio and TV to speak out against the Republican attacks on refugee benefits, and traveled around the community to meet with local leaders and voters.
Early in the week, Garcia spoke with Michel Suarez of Diario de Cuba about the anti-immigrant legislation being proposed by Trump supporter Marco Rubio and Carlos Curbelo which would cut benefits to Cuban refugees who come to the United States seeking better lives. Garcia called it cruel to strip Cubans of assistance, especially when the overwhelming majority of those refugees receiving help are law abiding.
Garcia also defended Venezuelan and Cuban refugees during his interviews on Dígalo Aquí on El Venezolano TV and Análises on TV Venezuela. He also spoke on the deteriorating conditions in Venezuela under the Maduro government. Garcia highlighted his work in congress fighting to pass immigration reform, including his introduction of a Venezuelan asylum bill that would have given resident status to tens of thousands of Venezuelans fleeing persecution.
On Thursday, Garcia laid out his plan to improve the country’s justice system so that more people can have the opportunity to turn their lives around and become productive members of our society. His plan includes more funding for prison diversion and recidivism prevention programs, as well as more fair employment practices in the federal government and rights restoration for nonviolent felons right here in Florida.
As part of the push for more funding for criminal rehabilitation programs, Joe met with Reverend Pedro Martinez to speak with Channel 41 America Tevé about the success of HOPE Exists, a local nonprofit that directs the homeless to helpful services like shelter and drug detox. Garcia spoke about the need for more expansive investments in programs that help people turn their lives around. During the interview, Garcia spoke with Alfredo Meza, a young man who once served over a month in jail for stealing a bicycle from Garcia’s residence. Since then, he was taken in by HOPE Exists and has worked with them and the city of Miami Beach to conduct outreach to the local homeless population, at $12 an hour.
In other news, a member of Team Joe tied the knot! Long time Garcia staffer and South Dade community activist Kevin Chambliss got married on Saturday at Covenant Missionary Baptist Church to an audience of friends, family and community members. Garcia celebrated another big moment this week with the high school graduation of his daughter, Gabi, who will now head off to college.
On Sunday, Garcia attended church services at Greater Williams Chapel Freewill Baptist Church and Covenant Missionary Baptist Church. Garcia was also joined by local immigration activists to talk to voters at the doors about his long history of fighting on behalf of the immigrant community.