Anti-immigrant measure HB675 advances in the Florida Legislature, threatens local control and community trust
Tallahassee, FL – Today, the Florida House of Representatives ignored the cries of county and city officials, law enforcement and community members. By an overwhelming majority, 80-38, HB 675 passed out of the House. With this, state representatives signaled their willingness to force local governments, law enforcement, and possibly schools, to do the work of federal immigration officials. Almost all Republican members of the Florida Legislative Hispanic Caucus voted to support this bill, with the exception of Representative Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando) who voted against it, and Representative Jose Felix Diaz (R-Miami), Chair of the Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation, who coincidentally was not present during the vote.
“Our communities will never forget the representatives who voted today to unleash the witch-hunt that will criminalize and racially profile our families. We are disappointed that members who are elected to represent our communities, would turn their backs on Florida’s families to gain favor in their party,” said Pamela Gomez, Tallahassee Organizer for the We Are Florida! Campaign. “Come November, Latinos and immigrant voters will make sure their voices are heard at the ballot box.”
Local community leaders across Florida are determined to ensure that members in the Florida Senate do not allow HB675 to advance. Mobilizations are planned on February 17 to the state capitol, to deliver thousands of petition signatures and show the growing opposition from local city and county officials.
“It’s frustrating to see legislators pass bills without understanding or acknowledging the impacts to key stakeholders, including the community,” said Francesca Menes, Policy Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “HB675 forces local government and law enforcement to partner with federal immigration enforcement and waste limited resources.”
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The Florida Immigrant Coalition is a statewide alliance of over 65 member organizations, including farmworkers, students, service providers, grassroots organizations and legal advocates, who come together for the fair treatment of all people, including immigrants.