Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Immigrants' stories underscore Rep. Castor's call for reform

TAMPA — They stood donning collared shirts and suit jackets, flashing shy smiles before the gaze of half a dozen TV cameras. All told stories of sacrifice in pursuit of a better life.

They were a business technology consultant from England, a Spanish-language TV executive, a Vietnamese nail salon owner and a marketing professional of Portuguese descent.

They were immigrants and kin of immigrants. They were entrepreneurs. They were Americans.

And they, according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, are the reason that the federal government must overhaul its immigration system.

"The problem is now our current immigration system throws up roadblocks to success stories like these," Castor said. "That's why it is important for the House of Representatives to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

In a Tuesday morning news conference, the congresswoman had each of the local professionals share their stories, punctuating their tales of sacrifice and success with a call for Congress to take action to make such stories an easier possibility for millions. These immigrants, she said, are proof of the tremendous impact that immigrants and their families have on the Tampa Bay area economy.

The news conference took place at the Waters Avenue office of Bayshore Technologies, whose chief executive officer, Peter Anderson, talked about his journey from England to play soccer with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Not long after he came to call Florida his adopted home, he married and went into business, building what would become a multimillion-dollar company.

"I have enjoyed Tampa more than any other city I have ever lived in," Anderson said. "Tampa and America have been very wonderful to me."

The others echoed his sentiments.

Castor used statistics to underscore her point about the economic impact of the immigrant community. Among them: 28 percent of American small businesses are started by immigrants, yet the same community accounts for just 13 percent of the U.S. population.

Through comprehensive reform, that economic impact could be much greater, Castor said. But she criticized her colleagues across the aisle, whose approach, she said, is not broad enough.

Speaking Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., detailed his party's approach to reform, saying they rejected a similar bill recently passed in the U.S. Senate.

"What we're going to do is take a step-by-step approach to get immigration right," Ryan said. "We want to be fair to that legal immigrant who did everything right in the first place."

Castor said the Republican proposals do little to alleviate obstacles that immigrants face in trying to become citizens.

"The House Republican leadership says, 'We want to do a little bit here and a little bit there,'" Castor said. "That's not good enough. . . . It's going to be the business community that is going to push this tea party Congress into action."

Immigrants' stories underscore Rep. Castor's call for reform 08/06/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dodgers close in on World Series with 6-1 win over Cubs


    CHICAGO — Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers' Chris Taylor hits a home run Tuesday during the third inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. [Associated Press]
  2. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  3. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  4. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  5. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …