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The Republican-dominated Florida Congress has passed a battery of controversial ultra-conservative laws promoted by Governor Ron DeSantis.
On Wednesday, 14 Dream Defender activists were arrested for participating in a sit-in at the offices of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. They were indicted for staying without permission in a public place after closing hours.
They were protesting against the anti-immigration policies that DeSantis promotes. In the early hours of Thursday, the activists were released but were banned from entering the Florida Capitol for a year.
Among the detainees are members of organizations in favor of the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal program that grants immigration benefits to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.
All those arrested were charged with a misdemeanor of trespassing. Dozens of protesters began the sit-in but when dozens of police officers arrived, only 14 remained chanting in DeSantis's office. They refused to leave office until they had a meeting with the governor.
"DeSantis likes to meet with his donors, the people who voted with him, his little pals, but he seems not to want to face the people who don't actually like him. If he won't face us, he shouldn't be the governor.” Dream Defendants co-director Nailah Summers-Polite said.
"Florida is on fire, and he's gallivanting around the country and around the world while the legislators under his boot are passing really harmful legislation," she added, as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.
In July 2013, the humanitarian organization Dream Defenders staged a month-long sit-in at then-Governor Rick Scott's office. The activists demanded the formation of a special committee to review a law that allows shooting another person if the person with the weapon feels threatened. Scott, however, rejected this proposal.
In the current session, the Republican-dominated Florida Congress has passed a battery of controversial ultra-conservative laws promoted by DeSantis, who is preparing to announce that he will compete for his party's presidential nomination in 2024.
One of those laws, which is one of the toughest on immigration in the United States, will come into effect on July 1.