Orlando leaders have balked at a request from the Trust Orlando Coalition to pass an ordinance making the city the first in Florida to quash immigrants’ fears of deportation.

The coalition, which represents 20 local organizations, asked the City of Orlando to pass an ordinance — known as the Trust Act — like those passed in big cities like Boston and Los Angeles.

The Trust Act limits law enforcement from detaining immigrants not involved in a serious crime.

The Orlando groups are pushing for a policy that will declare the City of Orlando an inclusive and welcoming city for all its residents, regardless of their immigration status, religion, or country of origin.

The mayor and several commissioners told the coalition last week they were more inclined to pass a resolution than an ordinance, while members claimed an ordinance has no strength.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer told the group that a a resolution makes more sense than an ordinance.

“I know we are viewed as a progressive government and you’ve come to us to be the first,” Dyer said during the meeting.

His statement was followed by nearly two dozen people who all repeated the phrase, “a resolution is not a solution.”

Ivan Vazquez, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, or Dreamer, who represents the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said an ordinance is stronger than a resolution.

“It’s good to affirm nice feelings and ideals, but a resolution has no teeth to ensure it happens day-to-day,” Vazquez said.

Eli Garcia, told the commission that the Trust Act would affect her family and community.

“I’m tired of seeing my community being afraid,” said Garcia, a UCF student who added that she represents many Dreamers. “I don’t want to beg. I want action. Sooner or later driver’s licenses will be taken away. I want to know Orlando has my back and that Orlando cares about the immigrant community.”

Dyer assured her that Orlando police officers do not detain immigrants or inquire about their immigration status. He said the city and its legal department would continue to work with the Trust Orlando Coalition to show they’re “willing to step forward on this issue.”

About The Author

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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