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Faith, Food, Friday: Strangers at the Door (a little reading material)

fff-logoDr. Bill Shiell of First Baptist, moderating Friday’s program “Strangers at the Door: A Conversation on Immigration,” has shared an article to prompt discussion with the God Squad. We thought we’d share it with you too:

“Christians equally committed to God’s word may reasonably arrive at different conclusions on specific aspects of [immigration] issues and their resolution. However, this much is certain: God, in His Word, consistently shows His loving concern for “the stranger in our midst” and directs His people to do the same…”

Read the whole article from Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University online HERE.

(Remember that tomorrow is the last day for early bird registration rates for this Friday’s program. Get more information and RSVP here.)

Florence Snyder: Happy 80th to the one and only Sandy D’Alemberte

DAlembertebwTallahassee–Dozens of friends and colleagues of Florida State University President and Law School Dean Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte gathered in his namesake D’Alemberte Rotunda yesterday to share cake and memories on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Some, like former Governor Reubin Askew, served with Sandy in the legislature. Retired Supreme Court justices and big name lawyers swapped Sandy stories with less well-known witnesses to the Atticus Finch qualities that Sandy brings to everything he does as a lawyer, a teacher, and a friend.

Sandy’s still bringin’ it on behalf of clients like Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio. An Eagle Scout and valedictorian at Tampa’s Armwood High School, Godinez-Samperio, now 26, has passed the Florida bar exam but can’t get licensed because his parents overstayed their visitors’ visa when they came here from Mexico when Jose was 9.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners passed the buck to the Florida Supreme Court which passed the buck to the U.S. Department of Justice. This week, the DOJ took time out from criminalizing journalism to weigh in with a brief advising Florida’s high court to tell Godinez-Samperio to pound sand, citing a 1996 federal law barring undocumented immigrants from receiving “public benefits.”

Godinez-Samperio’s odds are looking about as good as the Spartans at Thermopaylae. But that’s when Sandy pours it on.

Before DOJ’s brief had made it into the court file, Sandy was mustering an army of bar leaders to petition the Court to “defend its prerogatives” under the Florida Constitution and issue the license.

It’s a classic Sandy argument….so elegant, so simple, so gutsy, that hardly anybody else would have even thought of it, let alone rounded up—practically overnight—a group of high-octane lawyers to pull for his cause as easily as a magician pulls rabbits from hats.

Like Bluto in National Lampoon’s Animal House, Sandy works best in hopeless situations. “Nothing is over until [Sandy] says it is.”

Ask anyone, “Who do you think is going to be the next Sandy D’Alemberte?” and behold the blank stares. Like Atticus Finch—and Bluto—Sandy is one of a kind.

Florence Snyder is a corporate and First Amendment lawyer. Contact her at lawyerflo@gmail.com

Immigration & the American Melting Pot: The photos are in!

Find program details and an audio recording of the program online here. View the photos on one page here. All photos are credit Bob Howard.

Tallahassee Democrat: Village Square workshop seeks understanding on immigration

Tallahassee-Democrat-logo-squareFrom Wednesday’s Tallahassee Democrat, by Arek Sarkissian II.

About 150 people gathered on Tuesday night to better understand what’s at stake in the ongoing immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

“I think we needed to get the information out and I think we needed to understand what the issues at stake are,” said Temple Israel Rabbi Jack Romberg, who moderated the panel. “I think that you will find very few people who are truly anti-immigrant — I think more do not understand the depth of the issue.”

The panel and its audience were gathered by The Village Square at St. John’s Episcopal Church for “Immigration & the American Melting Pot.”

Read the entire story online at Tallahassee.com. Find information about the program and listen to an audio recording online here.

TODAY is the last day for early bird pricing for “Immigration & the American Melting Pot”

To get more information and reserve your seat before the dinner prices go up CLICK HERE. We also still have a few scholarship tickets left (email us at scholarship@tothevillagesquare.org).


We’ve got Senator Marco Rubio’s General Counsel on our immigration panel next Tuesday

collins_lenFlorida Senator Marco Rubio made the Sunday talk show circuit yesterday outlining the basics of an immigration reform plan being hammered out by the bipartisan “Gang of 8.” We’re delighted that next Tuesday, April 23rd Rubio’s General Counsel will be joining our panel for Immigration and the American Melting Pot to give us the latest inside information about the deal from the perspective of the senator who is the key to getting it done.

Joining Collins on the panel is State Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) who chaired a series of 2011 immigration hearings and authored a bill to tighten Florida’s immigration laws; Antonio Ginatta, advocacy director for the US Program at the international organization Human Rights Watch and FSU President Emeritus and past American Bar Association president Sandy D’Alemberte, who is currently representing “DREAMer” Jose Godinez-Samperio in his case before the Florida Supreme Court to join the Florida Bar. High school valedictorian and FSU Law School graduate Godinez-Samperio was brought to America from Mexico at age nine by his parents.

“Immigration and the American Melting Pot” will be held on Tuesday, April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church, downtown. Learn more about the panelists and reserve your seat now.

An immigration story: Village Square panelist Sandy D’Alemberte representing FSU law school grad Jose Godinez-Samperio

When FSU law school graduate Jose Godinez-Samperio passed the Florida Bar, it wasn’t exactly national news. Except that Godinez-Samperio wouldn’t be admitted to the Bar because he was an undocumented immigrant. Brought to America from Mexico at age nine by his parents, “DREAMer” Godinez-Samperio enlisted the help of his law school professor FSU President Emeritus and past president of the American Bar Association Sandy D’Alemberte to bring his case to the Florida Supreme Court.

In two weeks, on Tuesday evening April 23, D’Alemberte will join a Village Square panel to discuss the human and policy dimensions of immigration – and proposed reforms – in the United States and Florida. Meet our other panelists and reserve your seat by CLICKING HERE. Listen to the NPR Morning Edition story about Jose Godinez-Samperio here.

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