Fierce

Florida Sheriff’s Office Surprises 20-Year-Old, Who Is Raising Her 5 Siblings, With A New Car

For the past six years, 20-year-old Samantha Rodriguez has not been living the typical carefree life that a regular young girl would be. Her life turned tragic in 2013 when her mother lost her battle with cancer — and if that weren’t enough to shake her world, her father died of cancer three years later. Since then Samantha has been raising her five young siblings all on her own. She and her family do, however, have guardian angles very nearby.

The Florida Sherrif’s Office has been secretly raising funds to purchase a new car for Samantha and her siblings.

Twitter/@OrangeCoSheriff

The law officers first met Samantha and her five siblings — Milagro, 15, Brenda, 14, Michael, 13, 8-year-old Bella, eight, and 7-year-old Destiny — during Christmastime last year. The sheriff’s office invited the family to their offices and what they got was much more than a visit.

“We took pictures with the officers and the helicopter,” Samantha said, according to CNN. “Then they said, ‘Let’s go into this room for milk and cookies.’ The room was filled with Christmas presents for the family.”

“We focused on clothes but also toys,” Lieutenant Antorrio Wright told CNN. “We wanted to give them a good Christmas.”

The officials said they have “adopted” Samantha and her siblings, and what to help them as much as they can.

Twitter/@OrangeCoSheriff

When Samantha arrived at their offices in an Uber, officials realized they didn’t own a car, so their next goal was to get them a car. They launched a Gofundme page and within a day have raised more than $10,000.

Yesterday they invited Samantha for a visit but this time to surprise her with a brand new Nissan Versa.

“When they told me the car is for us, I remember thinking, ‘They just took away all these worries and stresses.'” she told CNN. “It was such a big weight off my shoulder and will help so much.”

According to Daily Mail, Samantha is also looking forward to doing the kinds of things they used to do before the tragic passing of their parents.

“Now that we have a car, we can go to church on Sundays like we used to. And the kids have already asked to go to the park. The possibilities are endless,” Samantha said.

As Samantha continues her job as a waitress at Disney Springs at Disney World, the Florida Sheriffs office is hoping to be able to assist them when they need it.

Twitter/@OrangeCoSheriff

“Anything I can do, or we can do with the Sheriff’s blessing we will. I’m proud of my unit,” Wright said to CNN. “It’s heartwarming. It wasn’t just me — it was the unit, and all these people came together to help.”

Click here if you’d like to help Samantha and her family.

READ: RAICES Collects Millions To Help Keep Families Together. Here’s Where The Money Is Going

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The Florida Law That Resulted In Trayvon Martin’s Death Is About To Be Expanded In A Big Way

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The Florida Law That Resulted In Trayvon Martin’s Death Is About To Be Expanded In A Big Way

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Florida already has one of the nation’s most far-reaching “Stand Your Ground” laws but the state’s governor wants to take it a step further: allow people to shoot looters and anyone suspected of rioting or being part of a mob.

DeSantis says the move is in response to an increase in crime across the state and to the ongoing nationwide protests that have resulted in occasional property damage and violence.

However, most experts agree that laws like Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law should be weakens or eliminated, since evidence shows that these laws can actually lead to an increase in violence and homicides.

Florida’s governor wants to expand the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis (Republican) is looking to amend the state’s “stand your ground” law, to make it one of the nation’s broadest. His amendments to the legislation are part of his “anti-mob” legislation, which are supposed to target people accused of illegal acts during riots and looting.

But critics rightfully worry that expanding the already dangerous law, would empower people to use violence and deadly force during chaotic and tense confrontations at protests.

The timing is also suspicious, considering the move is coming as part of an aggressive agenda following months of large-scale racial justice protests across the country.

Under Florida’s current law “a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if … he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”

DeSantis wants to expand this law to include “criminal mischief that results in the interruption or impairment of a business operation; arson that results in the interruption or impairment of a business operation; and any other felony.”

Democrats are already pushing back strongly against the proposed amendment.

Credit: Saul Loeb / Getty Images

Legislators, attorneys and others call DeSantis’ proposal “racist,” “dangerous” and “extreme.”

In a recent Miami Herald article, Denise Georges, a former Miami-Dade County County prosecutor who had handled “Stand Your Ground” cases said, “It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions.. It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”

In the same article, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, said the governor’s draft bill “sounds like an invitation to incite violence.”

The law gained national attention following the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Credit: Ted Soqui / Getty Images

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed by a man who claimed the “Stand Your Ground” defense and his story shocked the country. The 17-year-old teen was unarmed and chased by George Zimmerman which resulted in a physical altercation.

Although Martin was unarmed and not guilty of any crime – he was returning home from a quick walk to a convenience store – his killer was found not guilty thanks to the state’s strong “Stand Your Ground” law.

So-called ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws are becoming more common across the country.

Nearly three dozen states are “stand your ground” states, including 27 which have explicit laws saying so. They have been expanded over the past ten years as more states follow Florida’s lead.

A 2018 RAND Corporation review of existing research concluded that “there is moderate evidence that stand-your-ground laws may increase homicide rates and limited evidence that the laws increase firearm homicides in particular.” In 2019, RAND authors indicated additional evidence had appeared to reinforce their conclusions.

And although Florida’s legislature remains firmly in Republican control following this year’s election, it’s unclear whether DeSantis will find a sponsor for his proposed amendments.

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Cuban Asylum Seekers Stranded In Mexico Are Upset That Cuban-Americans Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump in Florida

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Cuban Asylum Seekers Stranded In Mexico Are Upset That Cuban-Americans Overwhelmingly Voted For Trump in Florida

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cuban migrants who are stranded in Mexico are reportedly upset that Cuban-Americans in Florida overwhelmingly voted for Trump, according to reports. 

Reuters interviewed several Cuban migrants who are stuck in Mexico due to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies.

Many of the Cuban migrants were planning on claiming asylum in the United States due to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies, they are forced to wait out the process in Mexico. Some have been there for months. 

Although many of the Cubans in Mexico understand Trump’s appeal to Cuban-Americans (i.e. anti-socialist, pro-capitalism), they nonetheless wish that their compatriots would look at the bigger picture when it comes to immigration reform. “They’re only thinking about the benefits for themselves if Trump wins, and nothing else,” said one Cuban asylum seeker, a doctor named Dairon Elisondo, to Reuters.

According to NBC News, 55% of Cuban-Americans in Florida cast their vote for incumbent Donald Trump as president.

They effectively helping the state–which was considered a potential swing state–turn red. One asylum-seeker whom Reuters interviewed claimed that he was betrayed by his own family member when his brother-in-law in Florida voted for Donald Trump.

“Imagine it! I’m a part of his family!” said Jose Manuel Maranillo. “I feel terrible he voted for Trump because we’re stuck here in Juarez hoping for Biden to win so he can help us and Latinos in the United States too.”

One of the Cuban asylum-seekers, Yuri Gonzalez, pointed out that Cubans who arrived in the United States before Trump was elected had a different experience when it came to seeking asylum. “Many of them [in Florida] arrived to the United States on planes with visas,” said Gonzalez. “They didn’t cross borders or endure any of the difficult experiences I’ve had to.”

Reuters asked Denise Galvez, a Cuban-American living in Florida who co-founded the group Latinas for Trump, what she thought of the Cuban migrants in Mexico who are disappointed in Florida going red.

Galvez said that immigration was “far from a top voting issue” for her and many other Cuban-Americans.

Another Cuban-American residing in Florida, Maria Romero, said she supports Trump for his hardline stance against Havana, but she also sympathizes with the asylum-seekers stuck in limbo. “I’m Cuban, so I don’t want [Trump] to be kicking other Cubans in the head,” she said. But unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what he’s doing.

Since President Trump was elected to office in 2016, the policies towards asylum seekers has become incredibly strict, even enacting an “asylum ban” in 2018. The ban was later struck down by an appeals court in 2020. But still, seeking asylum in the U.S. as a migrant is harder than ever.

When former Vice President Joe Biden was officially projected to be the next President of the United States on Saturday, the Cuban asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico were reportedly overjoyed. Cheers and chanting erupted in the refugee camp when the news was announced. The words “Bye Trump” were spelled out in balloon letters.

“We’re all going to celebrate today! Everyone is so happy,” Elisondo told Reuters after the announcement. “After so much darkness the light may arrive.”

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