Immigration supporters express disappointment with Congressman Dennis Ross

Barajas was one of more than 60 activists — almost all Latino — who held a press conference outside the Brandon Regional Service Center 30 minutes before Congressman Ross held his second meeting of the day.

Like his parents, Barajas has been a migrant worker his whole life. He said at a previous town hall meeting, Ross backed a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Barajas was having a hard time coping with the fact that Ross' support is no longer there, and instead, the Republican Congressman will now only speak up for a guest-worker program.

"As a farm worker following the crops, working from before sun up till after the sun goes down, you still make below poverty guidelines, and to go on and offer a guest-worker program and claim it's a sort of immigration reform is beyond me. How it can even be compared?" Barajas said.

"We want to make it clear to Congressman Ross that a guess-worker program is not immigration reform," stated Lindsey Myers, the Student Body President for Polk State College's Lakeland Congress. She rained praised on the undocumented who work hard to make a living for themselves and their families in the states, "This country was built upon hard work and the idea that we can succeed no matter what we face. We are Americans ... I do not believe that no man, woman or child should be blocked from being a hard working American citizen."

Veronica Perez, with United We Dream Tampa Bay, also made a few brief remarks. Perez came to the U.S. with her family when she was 9 years old, and she said her goal is to become a mechanical engineer. "I'm a good person and I want to stay here," she said.

Members of the House will return to Washington next week to begin discussions on their version of an immigration bill. Last night, Ross said he thinks the House will pass separate parts of the Senate's bill to address E-Verify, a guest-worker program, border security, and a visa program. But a comprehensive plan that was passed in the Senate seems, for now, to be dead on arrival.

  • Lindsey Myers addresses the crowd in front of the Brandon Regional Service Center on Tuesday night

At a town hall meeting in Lutz on Tuesday afternoon, Polk County area Congressman Dennis Ross said he does not support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. His remarks angered immigration reform advocates who blasted his stance shortly before he spoke at another town hall gathering in Brandon.

"I believe we need to have a guest-worker program in place to make sure that we accomplish the labor needs this country so desperately needs," Ross told those who gathered at the Lutz Elementary School. "I don't think we need to address citizenship at this time. I think once we address the other stuff, we will have an opportunity to reduce the numbers in the line, add people for the purposes that they should be here, and hopefully solve a significant part of our immigration concerns."

Dennis' comments upset Daniel Barajas, with the Young American Dreamers, who spoke later in Brandon.

"To sit here and say we'll continue to grow off the work, the sweat, the blood and the tears of immigrants, but not give them any rights, that's just not right. That's exploitation," he said.

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