Home > Press Release > Family Separation Bill Moves Forward in Florida Legislature

Family Separation Bill Moves Forward in Florida Legislature

Contact: Melissa Taveras, melissa@floridaimmigrant.org, 786.663.6690 or 786.956.0352

Thomas Kennedy, thomas@floridaimmigrant.org, 786.346.0819

Dangerous Family Separation Bill Passes Another Committee

Despite uproar from business leaders, chiefs of police, faith leaders, and immigrant advocates, proposed anti-immigrant legislation continues to threaten Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Family Separation proposals Senate Bill 168 and House Bill 527 are both one step closer to becoming law and severely impacting ALL Floridians. Today, the Florida House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 527 amidst unprecedented push back from community leaders. Immigrant advocates, faith leaders, the business community and defenders of civil rights have denounced HB 527 as an example of Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda at its worst. This legislation would erode trust in law enforcement, force state agencies to report undocumented immigrants, and cost the state $3.5 billion in GPD, according to the American Business and Immigration coalition and the Immigration & Partnership Fund.

Immigrants, undocumented Americans, children, faith leaders and concerned residents poured into the Florida Senate to give emotional testimonies against the proposal, which would circumvent the power and authority of local governments to protect the civil rights of its residents and force local governments and officials to cooperate with federal immigration authority at a level that is not required by law and has been challenged multiple times in courts.

Jonathan Fried, Executive Director for We Count, offered the following statement:

“People from across the country continue to come together, many traveling hundreds of miles from all over Florida to speak against the Family Separation Bill (SB 168). The Senate Rules Committee today has ignored the will of the people, business leaders and even law enforcement. This bill erodes any trust between law enforcement and local communities and will end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Creating a climate of fear that makes families afraid of reporting crimes or driving their children to school will not make this a safer state. We should be working to build trust between local law enforcement and our communities, not instilling further fear. Florida should be a place where all immigrants are allowed to live without the constant worry of being detained and separated from their loved ones.”

Mass detention and deportation programs undermine our basic human rights but have only exacerbated problems regarding immigration in this country while providing no long-term solutions. We call on Senators from both political parties to reject these draconian bills, and we send a notice to all those who voted in favor that we are watching intently and will hold them accountable.

# # #

We Are Florida is a statewide coalition of community advocates, religious leaders, service providers, unions and nonprofits dedicated to defending the rights of immigrant families across Florida.