Home > Press Release > Florida House Ready To Vote On Controversial Anti-Immigrant Legislation

Florida House Ready To Vote On Controversial Anti-Immigrant Legislation

HB 675 forces local police and teachers to report undocumented immigrants and hold them in detention; allows the State Attorney General to sue local governments that don’t comply

Mobilizations expected in Tallahassee, Miami, Tampa and Apopka

 NOTE: See full calendar of events at the bottom

 Tallahassee, FL – One of the anti-immigrant bills in Florida’s legislative session, House Bill 675, has been scheduled to be debated on the House floor this Tuesday, January 26th and will have a final vote in the House on Wednesday, January 27th. Outraged, Latino voters, pro-immigrant groups and organizations under the “We Are Florida” campaign, will mobilize in Tallahassee, Miami, Tampa and Apopka on Wednesday.

House Bill 675, sponsored by Representative Larry Metz (R-Lake), obstructs the sovereignty of local governments to protect the civil rights of their communities, thus forcing local governments, law enforcement and school districts to cooperate with federal immigration authorities at a level that is currently not obligated nor funded by the federal government.

“What this means is that our teachers will be forced to report undocumented students or their parents, while local local law enforcement will have to hold immigrants in detention only for being undocumented,” said Francesca Menes, Policy Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Can you imagine the fear this will generate in the community? Immigrants will be afraid to call to the Police to report a crime and parents will fear taking their kids to school.”

Local community members and pro-immigrant groups are not the only ones outraged at the Trump-inspired anti-immigrant rhetoric in the state legislature this year.

“The Florida Legislature is both outrageous and hypocritical. In 2014, Republicans courted immigrant and Latino voters with pro-migrant legislation. Now that they are back in office, it’s business as usual. Advocates, residents, and voters will not stand for anti-immigrant attacks in our great state!,” says Juan Escalante, Director of Digital Campaigns for America’s Voice, a national advocacy organization that recently launched an online petition and is reaching out to thousands of supporters in Florida to oppose these bills.

HB 675 will also cause an additional burden for local governments and entities, potential legal liability and cost of enforcement, which the state will not fund and the federal government will not reimburse. In other words, it will be paid for with local taxpayers dollars.

Since 2013, Miami-Dade County Commissioners and Sheriffs in Broward, Hernando, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Pinellas and Pasco Counties have opted out of doing immigration work because it was affecting the trust in the community and wasting their limited resources in deporting community members and separating families. Just last week Miami-Dade County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution opposing HB 675, setting an example for other counties and cities.

Between 2011 and 2012, Miami-Dade County confirmed that it spent over $1.6 million detaining individuals, which was not reimbursed by the federal government, which led the county to opt out of holding immigrants in detention. This is a cost that local taxpayers had to bear.

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MIAMI

What: Mobilization
When: 11:30 AM
Where: Office of Rep. Jose Felix Diaz
7901 Southwest 24th street, Miami, Florida 33155

TAMPA

What: Mobilization
When: 11 AM
Where: (TBD)

APOPKA

What: Vigil and Mobilization
When: 4 PM
Where: Hope CommUnity Center
1016 N. Park Ave, Apopka, Florida

TALLAHASSEE

What: Mobilization and Press Conference
When: 11:30 AM
Where: The Capitol, 4th Floor Rotunda

Some other events in Orlando and Tampa will be announced, for more details contact:
(Tampa) Pamela Gómez: 813-850-1076
( Orlando) Soraya Márquez: 407-285-6697

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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.