Today, the Florida House Judiciary Committee voted in favor (10-7) of anti-immigrant bill HB9, which aims to legalize racial profiling while punishing local municipalities for protecting its residents. Even though a similar bill approved in Texas earlier this year has received national backlash and constitutional concerns, Florida legislators moved forward to threaten public safety and undermine local democracy by bringing Trump’s anti-immigrant policies to our state.
The bill, which was intentionally assigned to only one committee, limiting the opportunities for public comment, and sparking outrage in the community, can be taken up for a final vote on the House floor as early as January 9th the first day of the 2018 Legislative session.
Diverse advocates, led by Immigrant families mobilized to Tallahassee and filled the chambers to give heart-felt testimonies against the immoral and unconstitutional bill. They now turn their eyes to the Senate where reason in years past has prevailed.
The following are statements in response:
“Today we see what the legislature is trying to do to our communities. This bills persecute immigrant families and immigrant communities. They also make local governments job harder when it comes to public safety,” said State Senator José Javier Rodriguez on a press conference after the vote. “This has to end. We need to refocus on actually doing things FOR our communities instead of persecuting them.”
“They want our labor, our tax contributions and our consumer dollars, but they don’t want to recognize us as people with families. Forcing local police and local governments to become immigration agents doesn’t help anyone. In fact, HB9 will force immigrants who are victims of crimes to remain silent out of fear, increasing the distrust between vulnerable communities and law enforcement,” said Tirso Moreno, General Coordinator of the Farmworker Association of Florida.”
“Our legislators don’t get tired of trying to criminalize immigrant workers and separate millions of families. But they know we won’t get tired either. We are Florida and we will never accept any attack to our diverse communities, we will always stand together to protect our families and, at the polls, we will remember who stood with us,” says Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
Since 2011, the We Are Florida campaign led by the Florida Immigrant Coalition has mobilized and successfully defeated all anti-immigrant and anti-refugee bills. Farmworkers, labor unions, students and workers from across the state have pledged to use their voice and power to once again put a stop to anti-immigrant bills that hurt us all.