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FLORIDA LAWMAKERS PROMOTE ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATIONS

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS PROMOTE ANTI-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATIONS

5 anti-immigrant bills have been already filed in the legislature; the last attempt in 2011 mobilized thousands of people to the State Capitol 

Tallahassee, FL – Today, several anti-immigrant bills were introduced in Florida’s legislature. House Bill 675 introduced by Rep. Larry Metz (Republican-Groveland), would be an unfunded mandate to counties and cities to enforce federal immigration laws. Similar to the bill expected to be filed by Senator Aaron Bean (Republican-Jacksonville), it would also allow the attorney general and state attorneys to take action against local governments, including civil penalties up to $5,000 for each day cities and counties do not enforce the policy to collaborate with federal immigration law enforcement, which would increase the number of immigrants detained and deported.

Several counties, including Miami-Dade have approved local ordinances to stop collaborating with immigration officers to stop the unnecessary and costly separation of immigrant families and reduce unnecessary spending on detentions and deportations. In 2011, Miami-Dade County found that the cost of collaborating with federal immigration officers was $1,002,700 and in 2012, a cost of $667,076, all cost which were non-reimbursable.

The following is a statement from Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition:

“This is a radical bill that would rip parents away from their children and force all state entities to essentially turn-in families who lack immigration status. Families that call Florida home and are integral to the fabric of our communities. Beyond the fueling of hate and racism that will further divide communities, this “big brother is watching” bill actually strong-arms local government, at taxpayer expense, to go after its own residents. It is not only costly; it will actually harm our safety by undermining the public trust.

Our biggest threat is not Florida’s farmworkers, housekeepers and immigrant entrepreneurs. What do we gain by going after our neighbors? Our biggest threat is the tragic and backward erosion of values we have fought and died for and purport to hold dear as Americans. This is all too reminiscent of shameful periods of our nation’s history.

In 2011, our legislators introduced several anti-immigrant legislations that would have been harmful to our state and local economies. Thousands of Floridians, businesses, law enforcements officials and many others stood up to tell them we are Florida and we don’t want anti-immigrant bills. What makes them think we will accept them now?”

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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.