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Local organization working to educate community about Florida sanctuary cities ban

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jun 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 18:42:11-04

LAKE WORTH, Fla. — For the children at the Guatemalan Maya Center, summer camp is a break from school, but for some It’s also a break from a difficult conversation.

“The parents fear and they tell their children too, about the stories that go on, but we try to make them feel calm like everything is going to be okay,” camp counselor Patricia Vargas said.

Whether it’s through dance or a soccer game the counselors at the summer camp want each child to feel at home.

“You have to gain their trust for them to tell you their stories,” Vargas said.

That’s because everyone here knows an undocumented person. A young lady says recently her dad was deported to Guatemala after living here for 20 years.

“We could say goodbye to him but it was through a glass wall and it was tougher for my mom because since she is undocumented she couldn’t go in and say bye to him,” she said.

Last week Senate Bill 168 was signed into law - prohibiting sanctuary cities across Florida.

While Lake Worth Beach was not a sanctuary city - workers at the Guatemalan Maya Center say they've been at work - educating their clients on what the new law means.

“People are worried, they’ve been worried for a while now,” case worker Daniel Morgan said.

He says many of the people he helps only speak the Mayan language, which can lead to misinformation.

They’ve set up a hot line and are holding a community meeting to help inform families.

“I don’t want to say there’s a reason to be afraid. But there’s definitely a reason to be informed,” he said.

The Guatemalan Maya Center is located at 430 N G St, Lake Worth, FL 33460. (561) 547-0085