More than 2.7 million Floridians – approximately 16.7 percent of the total population – are foreign born. That percentage is far higher in some parts of the state, such as Miami-Dade, where the population is 51 percent foreign born. Immigrants work and pay taxes; many immigrants have lived in this country for decades, married U.S. citizens, and raised their U.S.-citizen children. Laws that target them based on their status as immigrants violate their fundamental right to fair and equal treatment. When the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one vulnerable group, everyone’s rights are at risk.
The ACLU of Florida has been an outspoken critic of measures passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks that unfairly single out immigrants. We have repeatedly objected to new Florida policies that link state driver’s licenses to immigration documents, give local police the power to enforce federal immigration laws and indefinitely detain Haitian asylum-seekers behind bars, while releasing refugees from other nationalities to pursue their asylum claims.
The ACLU of Florida is dedicated to expanding and enforcing the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants and to combating public and private discrimination against these groups.