A hot topic on Apopka social media


By Reggie Connell

For the past few days, social media in Apopka has been talking about sanctuary cities.

Perhaps it’s because of the March and Rally for Immigrant and Worker Rights happening in Apopka on Monday bringing this issue to the forefront in Apopka, or possibly it’s just because election season seems to be in full swing in Apopka despite being 11 months out. But whatever the reason, there were two significant discussions on two local sites.

On April 26th, the Facebook page “Apopka Community Facts Uncensored”, one of its administrators posted this comment:

 “Just received a phone call stating Joe has been talking with some religious organizations for their support in making Apopka a Sanctuary City. Say it ain’t so Joe! Lord help us.”

The thread lasted over 48 hours and received over 25 comments.

Then on Friday on the Errol Estate social media site nextdoor.com, a thread that lasted all day and went well over 50 comments began with these two posts:

“Word is out on Tampa news, Apopka to be a sanctuary city. How will that affect our property values?”

Longtime Apopka resident Michael Heaton also commented on the thread.

“Mayor Joe is working through a ministry, as other cities do, to avoid the issue of the city, which is against federal law, actually looking like they are doing the work, but until the courts catch up with the loophole, Mayor Joe is all in for Apopka being a sanctuary city. Those that voted for him are getting the change all right.”

Note: No source was given in the post, nor could The Apopka Voice find a source for “Tampa news” relating to Apopka being a sanctuary city.

What is a sanctuary city?

According to Wikipedia, a sanctuary city is one that limits its cooperation with the national government in regard to detaining and deporting undocumented migrants and/or sets other law enforcement priorities. Leaders of sanctuary cities want to reduce the fear of deportation and possible family break-up so that such residents will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enroll their children in school.

Municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and refusing requests by federal immigration authorities to detain people beyond their release date if they were jailed for breaking local law. Such policies can be set expressly in law or observed in practice, but the designation “sanctuary city” does not have a precise legal definition.

Opponents of “sanctuary cities” argue that cities should support the mission of federal agents, while supporters argue that the duty of federal agents does not belong to localities.

Mayor Kilsheimer, Commissioner Velazquez respond

Later in the nextdoor.com thread, Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer responded to the accusations. Among them was this post:

“The Hope Community Center was founded in the 1970s. The nuns who founded it came to Apopka more than 40 years ago to minister to farmworkers. The farmworkers came to Apopka in the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s because they were INVITED to come here by the FARMERS and NURSERY OWNERS. According to the 2010 census, the Hispanic population in Apopka amounts to 26 percent of the city’s total population. These are all facts about Apopka that existed even before I was elected to city council in 2012. I have been invited to events at Hope Community Center and I have attended, just as I have attended events at virtually every other denomination in Apopka. Finally, I will state categorically: the suggestion that Apopka is doing anything to impede the enforcement of federal immigration law — officially or unofficially — is false, inflammatory and hurtful.”

Commissioner Diane Velazquez was not in the nextdoor.com thread, but she did tell The Apopka Voice about her concern for that sort of criticism.

“The inflammatory posts on Next Door social media site alleging Apopka is listed as Sanctuary City is an outright lie and intended to incite negative and hurtful remarks toward the Mexican and Hispanic community in our city and should not be tolerated by any group or member in our city. As a retired member of law enforcement & as an elected official, I took an oath. I respect and honor those Oaths.  I respect and embrace everyone who calls Apopka home which includes our diverse Hispanic community.The immigration issue is a hot topic with strong opinions reference to sanctuary cities. In my tenure, as Commissioner, I have always maintained a good relationship with both the Hope Community & the Farmworkers, supporting their community efforts to serve the Farmworkers & their families, working in the local farms & nurseries of Apopka.”

The official comment from the City of Apopka came from Public Information Officer Robert Sargent, who categorically denied the allegations of discussions about sanctuary cities.

“The City of Apopka has not had any discussion of any kind – official or unofficial – about sanctuary cities. City staff recently reviewed an application and permitted Monday’s march with requirements for pedestrian safety. That’s it.”

The Monday march is called the March and Rally for Immigrant and Worker Rights. It starts at Kit Land Nelson Park at 2 PM. To read more on the march, go here. Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida, explains its significance.

“Most of Florida’s agriculture industry and rural economy is sustained by the work and contributions of farmworkers and their families,” says Moreno. “On May Day we are sending a message loud and clear to all local elected leaders and to the American public inviting them to value farmworker and immigrant communities.”


  1. From the article. “The thread lasted over 48 hours and received over 25 comments” Real news gets that in 48 seconds.

  2. This is such a Liberal rag the only reason I even see it is because it is in my local news. I should just move. If this is the voice of Apopka I do not want to live here anymore. This has become a crime ridden cesspool. I need to carry a gun to walk outside now.

  3. David, I don’t believe Apopka Voice is a “liberal rag,” if that is who you are posting about. I believe Apopka Voice is a conservative online publication, although I don’t know if they even rated as to being liberal or conservative. Most of the larger publications are rated, but a lot of the smaller ones, newspapers and online publications, are not. Anyway, what if they were liberal?????? You are getting a FREE continuous news source about what is happening in your own area………I think your posting is a case of “taking it out on the messenger” when some of the local news rubs you wrong…… Crime is everywhere, not just this area, David. It is sad, but some of the tiny little hick towns that were the old stomping ground of the my childhood are now dangerous places with violent gangs and murders that are commonplace. Very sad, but I understand your being upset about the crime here……….

  4. Fake news again pushed by the haters. Let God grant them peace and give them some intelligence for which they disparatly need. Have a good night Michael Heaton.

  5. I am a minority in my 2/3 Hispanic neighborhood. I asked why we do not have streetlights here and was told it is because my neighbors shoot them out. I thought it was a lie until one was fixed for 2 nights until it was shot out.

    • What you need to do is find the creeps that are shooting out the lights. They need to be arrested and also pay for the lights. If they live in Apopka that is a disgrace. If they are using a real firearm they need to be charged with a felony. Are there any video cameras in the are that may have recorded them?

      • I actually am in the county. If you call on them the Deputies come to your house first then go talk to the shooters and do nothing. After that the dude with the gun knows who you are. The deputy that responded to my burglary is the one who told me why i do not have streetlights. They know but have their hands tied.

  6. Sanctuary cities talk crap about not snitching out illegals who report crimes. It has nothing to do with that and it is an outright lie to assert that. No one is asking to detain victims. The entire conundrum is about people who have been arrested for criminal activity. If they are not here legally why not detain them?

  7. David stop complaining. God. Nothing but cry babies. Every race has had people. Hick towns do bad things also. All of you who make these comments are gross hypocrites and you need to open your eyes and stop complaining. Take action and help the situation. Have a heart for gods sake. Cry cry cry is all you do. This ain’t political. It’s about human beings you (expletive deleted by Editor).

  8. Who cares about liberal or not. It’s so stupid. People are dumb. 80% of you are just simply incompetent to even have this conversation. Just let the smart people help figure it out and stay home and watch tv or whatever it s racist and deplorable folks do. Get over it. Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Russian, Muslim, and all the rest are here to stay. Which one do you think I am Lol. It doesn’t matter. That’s the point.
    It’s just sick to see Americans talk this way. Wow. How sad you really are. Move to Montana out n the woods. That’s what my racist uncl did. And then he was killed by a bear. We should probably deport the bear or call it a foreigner and kill it right?
    Wow just a bunch of sad self righteous idiots. No clue. It’s just sad and unreal.

    • So you don’t think that someone that commits a crime should be detained whether they are legal or illegal? I am not talking about politics either, I am talking about crime which hurts everyone. I just don’t understand how they can say to an illegal that committed a crime that he can go free and then tell a citizen that committed the same crime That he will be going to prison for two years? Justice is supposed to be blind.

  9. And mike heaton is some white dude who is bitter and sad. Wow don’t even know you and yet I know exactly how you sound look and feel. Amazing isn’t it. Shame on you sad pathetic man. Your name is spelled wrong and in small print because that’s what you deserve Lol.
    And David? What is real news? Trump letting us Know the job is harder than he thought! ? Lol. Yeah? I knew it. Real news at last.
    Wow so sad you people. Make it all about politics. Oops did I call the kettle black. Haha.

  10. Bunch of people on here who remind me of family who sits around and judges everything in the world and yet you have probably never left the country let alone your “hick” hometown. Try traveling once and see the real world and its peaceful and prosperous side, would ya?

  11. And a final thought; see, the people looking for safety from war torn contries are seeking a safe place to live and be the good people they were, unti idiots like the ones on this post start wars and create problems. Then they have no where to go. No food,no cloths, no house, no car ,no water, no AC, none of the things you sit around and think are normal. It’s a place and time you know nothing about. You sit in your luxury house or car and drink fresh water and eat till you fart and vote for Dump and then think you have a right to talk about other nations people who have nothing because of morons like you. It’s so disgusting it make me want to be like you and annihilate you, but I know that hate and anger are not the answer. And politics won’t solve it either. You know what will? Heart, soul, compassion, but most of all education and understanding. But I’m betting you, David and Mike, have almost none of that do you?
    All I know is I will love those who try and care. Those who don’t….well….good day to you forever.

  12. And thank you, Reggie Connell, for making this subject survive. And let’s get facts. And let’s report on how it will be children and women who will benefit from being brought to our great country. They will grow and help find cures and make new ways to use energy. And to teach us culture and life from around the world. One day we will all be one because of reporters like this one. Great job!!! Thank you again and let’s be sure to keep it real news and factual without the “fake news” that all the sudden is the new Right Wing excuse to stop true thought and feeling instead of lies and brainwashing techniques used by some political administrations. Report on the folks who want to hold back true human nature and unity.

  13. people (( illegal )) immigrants have no rights under our law. If they go thru the correct vetting system then they are afforded some legal rights. When they come over the border and start a lawn business they are still illegal and do not belong here. When you ship an illegal back to their country of origin then send their family with them , they are probably illegal also. If the family is legal then they can start the vetting process to get the person thru the proper process and return them here .

  14. Today the vehicle thieves struck while I was at the shopping strip plaza behind the Chick-Fil-A at Hunt Club shortly before 1:00 pm, and waiting on my medicine to be filled at the pharmacy. I am lucky it was not me that it happened to. However, a lady that was in the pharmacy, at the same time I was, had her car stolen right out front of the store and when she came out, she started asking my husband and I if we saw anyone driving off with her car. I didn’t see anything, as I was sitting on the bench outside the pharmacy facing the storefront, and didn’t hear anything either, and my husband had stepped back inside the pharmacy to use the restroom, while I was outside waiting. She was upset and called the Seminole Sheriff. They came and said more than likely the thief or thieves were heading toward Apopka, because that’s where they usually head to!!! Just a reminder to everyone to keep your vehicles locked at all times, and beware! It was a bright royal blue Mitsubishi Lancer, don’t know the tag #….. I feel bad because I was right there in front of where her car was along the curb and stolen, but I had my back turned and didn’t see or hear anything, and my husband was inside the pharmacy in the restroom at that time. They are sooooo slick! I hope her car is recovered, and still in one piece, if it is found!

    • Usually… Its people from South Apopka. And people who shoot the street lights at my street are rednecks. Its next to Apopka High too. Always in their silly oversized trucks blasting music, yelling out racist remarks. A crmimal can be anyone. Whether legal or illegal. But calling out illegals as a typical criminal who robs and murders is harsh.

  15. I haven’t had any rednecks shooting out street lights on my street, knock on wood, that is, but we had a very dark street for quite awhile because of some lights burned out. I called and pestered them and finally a truck came and replaced them. I know they were not shot out, as there would have been glass all over the streets, and the light covers would have been gone and shattered, so that wasn’t the case on my street. Too bad those misguided bad rednecks in the big trucks couldn’t have found another target, like maybe the red light cameras, ……LOL….JUST KIDDING!!!

  16. I kind of worry right now with it being so dry with the drought, and with Cinco De Milo weekend coming and the celebrations around the neighborhoods with the big fireworks they set off. I hope no one’s yard or house catches on fire, during their firing off the big bottle rockets…..!!!!!

  17. Dustin do you even live near here? You seem to have an agenda and not much else. I am not anti immigrant. I do not support Trump. I really just want streetlights. I can live without sidewalks and speed humps. Just give me lights.

  18. David, I can live without speed bumps too, I hate those things! So it is that bad on your street?…..wow, I just don’t know what you can do about it. Does all this shooting happen when they are partying and drinking, or is it just randomly when everything else is quiet? With all those nutty gun owners on your street, I hope you have one for your own protection, at least.

    • It is just one guy. He comes to the party gets drunk and pulls out a 1911 style 45. He does not keep a round chambered I hear him rack the slide then 7 shots. The mild muzzle flash indicates a full length barrel.. I also hear gunshots farther away pretty much every night. I bet none of those guns are legally owned.

  19. David, maybe you could install some bright lights on the side of your house that project outwardly to light up your surrounding yard area. Maybe one on each corner. That would be better than total darkness, from shot out street lights. Just trying to help…….

    • I have those plus cameras that watch the front of my house since the burglary. That still does not illuminate the rest of the street.

  20. I am just now seeing your part of your comments David. I know I have called the police at least twice out at night about shots fired. It wasn’t on my street, but very close. Once we came home, and had not gotten into our house and we heard them. Pop, pop, pop, pop………and then we heard car tires screeching off, and getting gone, and I called police, because who knows what was going on. Another time I called, when I heard shots in the neighborhood, but never could find out who it was, and it was not fireworks!

  21. We got up and opened our front door one morning and discovered the ICE agents on our street apprehending a person. This was about 5 years ago under Obama, not Trump. Under Obama, supposedly he was only rounding up the really bad ones. That was alarming to open our front door, and see them on our street in action. Then later on, two different times we had the full SWAT teams on our street doing busts, decked out, and assault rifles in their hands…..and they used one of those flash bangs or whatever you call those things, and let me tell you, it is a scary thing to witness all the police out there in action in full SWAT attire with assault rifles when it is right on your street!!!

  22. Most of my neighbors are very good people and are hard working and family oriented. I guess there are challenges living anywhere now days as to crime, because it is everywhere. Living in a gated community with security isn’t even safe anymore, unbelievably. If you don’t decide to move David, maybe you could put some security iron bars on your windows and doors to help prevent break ins. I know that is expensive, but other than having a gun, and security cameras, that is all I can think of David. I hope things settle down on your street because I know that is stressful to you.


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