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Dozens forced to leave Dade City HUD location

Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 04, 2016
An investigation started after Homeland Security discovered a tenant was using a fraudulent social security card.
 
Community activist Margarita Romo has spent decades trying to help farm workers and other immigrants in and around Dade City.
 
“I think we’ve lost heart. I think we’ve lost soul,” said Romo.
 
And now as many of them face eviction, she worries, especially for the children.
 
“We are talking about 60 kids that had to find a different way to go to school and these are all American kids,” said Romo.
 
Eviction notices went to several people living at Cypress Farms Apartments, which is operated by the Pasco County Housing Authority.
 
It started when Homeland Security discovered a tenant was here illegally, after using a fraudulent social security card.
 
“Obviously we cannot have people participating in programs that are not qualified to participate in them. We can’t,” said attorney Shelly Johnson, who is representing the Housing Authority.
 
Officials said an audit of the program found 20 others were also lying about their qualifications as citizens.
 
They all had until Friday to leave. 
 
Some were packing up, most are already gone. 
 
“Over the years we’ve tried really hard to find a better life for them, but it’s very difficult because of the way immigration works and the process. Some people can be here 15-20 years and still be waiting for mercy,” said Romo.
 
The Pasco Sheriff’s office said they are investigating, but have not evicted anyone yet.
 
Meanwhile the housing authority said they will continue to audit all there residents to look for any other cases of fraud.
 
They also acknowledge dozens of qualified US citizens may have been denied housing here because people were living in the apartments illegally.