The Longest Bike Ride Ever for Immigration Reform?
Near the southernmost tip of the state of Florida, from the city of Homestead, an undocumented immigrant has decided to bike all the way to Washington DC. Francisco Diaz’s purpose? To get President Barack Obama to halt deportations and to push for greater immigration reform. He will be carrying a pen that he hopes the president will use to sign a bill stopping deportations. One can only help that he will be successful.
Long Bike Ride for Immigration
Even the most ardent immigration reform advocates have to admire Diaz’s commitment to immigration reform, and one can only imagine how saddle sore he will be by the time he makes it all the way up the Eastern seaboard to Washington D.C. The journey will take two months and will cover over 1,000 miles.
The journey is not unprecedented, as four young DREAMers walked from Miami to Washington, DC four years ago in order to push Obama on immigration reform. The long walk of Gaby Pacheco, Juan Rodriguez, Felipe Matos, and Carlos Roa was seen as a turning point in getting Obama to institute the DACA program that has protected many young immigrants from deportation.
Will It Work?
The bike-trekking Diaz recently met with Florida Republican, and member of the House of Representatives, Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami. Immigration attorneys who have watched the immigration reform debate know that Diaz-Balart is a key figure for reform, though he has frustrated many activists with his inability to get more Republicans on to his side.
Despite some of these frustrations, Diaz-Balart was very supportive of Diaz’s plan to bike to Washington, D.C. Diaz-Balart cited the large number of deportations and the families that are being broken apart because of the current deportation policies.
Such issues are also at the heart of Diaz’s bike ride, because Diaz’s brother-in-law was recently deported, leaving behind a 9 year old daughter. She still wakes up in the middle of the night crying for her father.1 Homestead immigration lawyers, and everyone else involved in immigration reform, will be cheering on Diaz during his ride. One can only hope that the pen he carries will be used to stop deportations.