The bill now heads to the Governor to either sign into law or veto
Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Florida House members passed Senate Bill 1718 (SB 1718), a cruel, dangerous and overbroad anti-immigrant bill. The legislation targets immigrants in Florida and criminalizes people who travel across state lines with non-citizens, including some who are legally authorized to be in the United States. The bill has been described as government overreach and abuse of state power, infringing on Floridians’ rights and freedom.
The bill has a host of policies that harm Florida immigrants and their families in every facet of their lives. SB 1718 instills fear in immigrant Floridians seeking to access health care, expands E-Verify penalties on businesses and prohibits funding of community identification cards by local governments.
Among the plan’s most controversial and harmful policies is the criminalization of people, citizens and non-citizens alike, who travel into the state with migrants and asylum seekers. This means people providing emergency medical or humanitarian aid, or simply going on vacation with a loved one could be punished. A person may be subjected to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, for traveling in a car across state lines with an undocumented person. This type of policy encourages racial profiling and discrimination because it supports inquiries related to the nationality, citizenship or immigration status of people they interact with in everyday life. Such suspicions are likely to be prompted by the way someone looks, their accent, where they or their family come from, or other racially or culturally motivated assumptions and stereotypes.
Kirk Bailey, political director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today's vote with the following:
“In a state as diverse as Florida, this bill puts many people at risk. It incentivizes racial profiling of a breadth of Floridians and creates a ‘show me your papers’ environment. It actively seeks to criminalize Floridians, hurts businesses and our economy, and undermines our public health system. Nearly 20 percent of Floridians are immigrants - a bill that directly harms a fifth of our population has no place in our state. Plainly put, this bill is disgraceful.
“We’ve seen policies like this fail time and time again in other states. In Arizona, legislators passed a bill that also led to racial profiling and created a ‘show me your papers’ state. Once it became law, it led to a loss of $141 million in direct spending and $45 million in hotel and lodging revenue from canceled conventions, as well as a ripple effect of 2,761 lost jobs, $86.5 million in lost earnings, $253 million in lost economic output, and $9.4 million in lost tax revenue. If this bill becomes law, it will destroy crucial bonds in our communities and our economy.
“This anti-immigrant bill does not make our state any safer or any better. Instead, it represents government overreach and an abuse of power, criminalizes and racially profiles Floridians, hurts our economy, and misuses millions of taxpayer dollars to actively attack Floridians.
“Our lawmakers should not be wasting resources on this bill while Floridians are suffering and barely making ends meet -- we need our legislature to invest in public education, affordable housing, healthcare access, and job creation. These are the reforms the legislature should be prioritizing if the goal is truly to improve the health and safety of Floridians. This bill accomplishes none of these.”