TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — On Thursday, the House State Affairs Committee passed House Bill 1355, a bill that would prohibit contracts with private entities and charitable nonprofits that provide transportation to asylum seekers, immigrant children and adults, precluding them from being reunited with family.
This bill also prohibits local governments from protecting Floridians’ private information with regard to their immigration status from being transmitted by anyone within law enforcement to any state entity, state agency, state prosecutor, and any state university or college. If implemented, the bill would force every law enforcement agency that operates a county detention facility to enter into a 287(g) agreement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), regardless of the costs associated with such a contract, any evidence of a public safety benefit, or whether the law enforcement agency desires an agreement.
Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today's hearing with the following:
“Gov. DeSantis and the legislature are continuing to double down in their discriminatory animus toward immigrant communities through this new bill, specifically harming children and families.This bill would also force certain local law enforcement agencies to enter into 287(g) agreements with ICE.
“The most concerning provision of this bill is that it shamelessly targets children and asylum seekers by banning private businesses and organizations from providing transportation to immigrants in Florida. This would lead to private entities requiring proof of immigration status from every child or adult who intends to utilize their transportation service, would open the door to unlawful interrogations, and would exacerbate racial profiling and discrimination.
“This places an unreasonable burden on private businesses and organizations to make immigration status determinations. With this provision, the bill seeks to create a cruel and unnecessary barrier for immigrants simply seeking to travel to their families in Florida, and is particularly inhumane when considering the impact it would have on immigrant children. Legislators should be ashamed of preventing vulnerable children from being reunited with their families.
“Legislators need to focus on and invest in public education, affordable housing, healthcare access, and job creation for all Floridians instead of harming immigrant families.”