Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 16, 2023
CONTACT: ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

February 16, 2023

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. On Wednesday, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 6B into law, a move that will allow for the creation of a program to inhumanely expel migrant families and people seeking asylum out of Florida.

The new program will mirror the cruel political stunt the Governor produced after transporting migrant families and children to Martha’s Vineyard while spending nearly $1.6 million in taxpayer funds. Since the event last fall, DeSantis has been under fire and is facing multiple lawsuits. This new law will seek to minimize the consequences he faces for his actions last year by codifying the program.

Following the signing of the bill, Tiffani Lennon, executive director at the ACLU of Florida, responded with the following statement: 

“It’s disheartening to see DeSantis, a public official, so easily change the law retroactively to avoid the consequences of his actions. The Governor used a rushed special session at an extra cost to taxpayers to evade any wrongdoing. That’s not how a democracy should work. 

“More importantly, this new law harms vulnerable children and families seeking safety in our state. As we mentioned before, our number one priority as a state should be to ensure that every migrant and asylum seeker is safe, healthy, and treated humanely. Yet, DeSantis is actively seeking to do the exact opposite with this program. Instead, he’s harming and traumatizing human beings simply to score political points. 

“There are so many pressing issues the Governor could have called a special session for and spent taxpayer funds on, but this is not one of them. DeSantis could have addressed crucial needs such as rising housing costs and unlivable rent, or the extortionate price of insurance and healthcare costs Floridians deal with every day. He didn’t do any of that. He spent taxpayer funds to support his own cruel political maneuvering. 

“This “transportation program” is a waste of state resources, especially when the asylum seekers he’s targeting have already been granted authorization to be in the United States lawfully. The DeSantis Administration cannot stop people from fighting for their lives and the lives of their families, and we certainly will not turn our backs on people asking for protection from violence and persecution.

“The new law goes directly against Florida’s values. Our communities are at their best when they welcome people seeking asylum with compassion, dignity and respect. Despite this cruel law, we will continue to speak up for those who are most vulnerable and will not let DeSantis remove, erase, or undermine the contributions of immigrants in Florida.”