Immigrant-rights groups are up in arms after a retired U.S. Navy chief Geoff Ross filed a complaint with Immigration and Customs Enforcement alleging that GOP state Sens. Anitere Flores and J.D. Alexander “engaged in dialogue” with “suspected illegal aliens” — actually, immigrant activists — and did not report them to authorities.
In a press release issued today, We Are Florida! says:
Yesterday, groups representing the We are Florida campaign received notification of a recent letter/complaint to the immigration authorities by Geoff Ross, President of the Emerald Coast Tea Party Patriots, asking Homeland Security to open an investigation on Sen. Anitere Flores and Sen. Alexander for not reporting Floridians visiting their offices at the State Captiol during a week of action against Arizona-like immigration laws. The complaint argues they are “suspected illegal immigrants”.
In a letter to ICE Field Director Marc Moore, Maria Rodriguez, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, wrote:
We see the letter from this gentleman as a threat to the constitutional rights of those gathered in Tallahassee and as a clear indication of the culture of xenophobia and racism that is spreading Arizona copycat legislation slated to destroy Florida’s economy and social progress.
We are concerned about the allegations being proposed against localTallahassee residents, clergy, children and other community leaders fromaround the state with diverse ethnic backgrounds who are visiting their state representatives to exercise their first amendment rights.
It is important to affirm that elected representatives have no legal authority to question the immigration status of constituents visiting theiroffices, nor do they have any legal authority to disclose any information shared in testimony by their constituents without their formal approval and consent.
Ross tells The Florida Independent he is no longer linked to the Emerald Coast Tea Party Patriots, calling himself an independent conservative. He says he filed his complaint merely as a citizen and taxpayer.
“If you want to come into this country, we welcome you. Don’t sneak in here,” Ross says. “I don’t have anything against people coming here, but don’t come here illegally. Don’t break our laws.”
He says the presence of suspected illegal immigrants in Tallahassee was reported to him by people who saw them exiting a bus, and that some of them claimed to be illegal and wanted citizenship.
“My question is: Why are they not being reported?” Ross says. “They are claiming to be illegal so they should be investigated in accordance with federal law.”
Ediberto Roman, a law professor at Florida International University, says Ross has no basis for his accusations.
“It’s about the fact that they’re an easy target,” he says, adding that he thinks Ross’s goal is to instill fear and to quell the activists’ political involvement.
Ross’ letter, in full:
Subject: *HOMELAND SECURITY PREPARES POTENTIAL INVESTIGATION AGAINST FLORIDA STATE SENATORS FOR FAILING TO REPORT SUSPECTED ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS IN THE STATE CAPITAL*
*POTENTIAL INVESTIGATION OF SENATOR FLORES AND SENATOR J.D. ALEXANDER*
Investigation Number: 02223487
*For failure to report and for engaging in state business with suspected illegal immigrants at the State Capital April 25th and 26th 2011*
As I reported yesterday, bus loads of suspected illegal immigrants swarmed the offices of State Senators and our Legislators in Tallahassee Florida, the highest taxed county in our State. The suspected illegal’s arrived offering baskets of fruit as gifts in exchange to end the legislative tools being written to protect our state like E verify.
Senator Flores and Senator J.D. Alexander engaged in dialogue with these suspected illegal aliens and not one single member of the House or Senate or Capital Police called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Homeland In-Security to report these alleged criminals.
I called Senator Flores office today at (850-487-5130) but Senator Flores was tied up in a budget meeting. Her personal aid confirmed to me that Senator Flores did speak with these non English speaking Hispanics, but she told me that Senator Flores did not ask these people if they were here illegally.
Why not ?
So the question is….if they are not here illegally why are they in the Senators office asking her for citizenship and asking her to shut down E verify and other tools that we need to secure our state and our borders.
With the information in hand I then called the Sergeant at Arms (The boss in charge of the State Capital Police) at 850-488-8224 and reported the suspected illegal’s walking freely around the State Capital. The Capital Police stated the suspected illegal’s were all checked through security and did not have any weapons. Well good says I, you have them all rounded up now report these people to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They declined.
So finally folks I called the Homeland Security Investigations office in Washington DC and reported the entire incident including the meetings and the failure of two Florida State Senators to report suspected illegal immigrants to ICE. Ref: Senator Flores and Senator J.D. Alexander. I consider this aiding and abetting suspected illegal immigrants in the State Capital Building.
The Homeland Security Investigations Office in Washington will assign an investigation team for me which is now in process and they will be requesting more information from me tomorrow.
The investigation number to reference this Homeland Security report that is now on file and on the record is 02223487.
SECURE THE BORDERS !!!! No highway option.
Copy to the Senator Flores and Senator J.D. Alexander.
United States Navy retired