Orange County

Viral social media post falsely states illegal immigrants dropped off at Central Florida motel

MAITLAND, Fla. — Following a viral social media post that falsely stated that it showed illegal immigrants being dropped off at a Central Florida motel, dozens of people descended on the Maitland Extended Stay America to protest illegal immigrants who were not there.

The false social media post shared by hundreds of people, including Central Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabitini, purported to show hundreds of Hispanic men being dropped off at a motel. However, the men are all legal migrant workers in the area on H2A visas.


“He said hundreds of illegals were dropped off at the extended-stay motel in Maitland, that is not true,” said Ann Kendrick of Hope Community Center. “It is simply, simply a lie, there are not hundreds of undocumented immigrants being dropped off, this is simply not true.”

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The migrant workers are employed by a local nursery, which issued a statement saying in part, “This is a long-standing 100% legitimate program that allows our companies to hire workers we need to deliver the best quality products to our customers. Any suggestion to the contrary is mistaken.”

After about two hours the group of protesters started to thin out with the remaining protestors directing their anger at vehicles entering and exiting the motel, as well as hurling insults at Maitland police officers, who were there to keep tensions down and keep people off the motel’s property.

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One woman yelled that the officers should be ashamed of themselves, with a man telling them repeatedly that they should stop wearing the American flag on their sleeves.

By 5:30 the entire group had left.

Channel 9 attempted to contact Sabitini, but he did not respond.

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