More than a dozen families stood at the front of the Tampa Municipal Building on Monday, urging the mayor to designate Tampa as a sanctuary city.
Leaders in cities like New York, LA and Denver have recently announced they will protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. Nearly 300 areas are designated as sanctuary cities, including Hillsborough County.
“We’re all here for one cause we want protection for our families,” said Nanci Palacios, organizer at Faith in Florida, a faith-based organization that focuses on helping immigrant families.
She was joined by a handful of other organizations, who together presented a signed letter to the Mayor’s staff.
Ashley Bauman, a spokesperson for the city, took the letter on Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s behalf, saying he was in New York City for a work trip and could not be there in person to accept it himself.
“He has accepted this with open arms and will definitely look into having a meeting with you,” she told the crowd.
Throughout his campaign, president-elect Donald Trump has expressed his stance against sanctuary cities, threatening to pull federal aid to states who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officers.
“Every day our border remains open, innocent Americans are needlessly left in place,” he said during a rally in September, "innocent Americans are put in harms way.”
Jacky Cruz, a college student who has been granted DACA status, says their proposal won’t put security at risk.
“We’re asking the mayor to exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case by case basis,” she said, “We’re asking that we not all are lumped into the criminal category because the truth is we are not all like that we’re hard working people.”
The groups hope to set up a public meeting with the Mayor to discuss their proposal.