Media Contact

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 16, 2019
CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, (786) 363-2737

April 16, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, FL - The House Judiciary Committee today voted to pass House Bill 527, which would prohibit all state and local entities from passing or enforcing ordinances that would protect Floridians from unlawful immigration detention and would divert limited local resources to enforcing federal immigration law. The anti-immigrant bill also contains unprecedented provisions that would penalize state entities for failure to comply with all federal immigration enforcement agency requests and, as a result, force them to expose themselves to damages liability for constitutional violations.

HB 527 is the companion bill to Senate Bill 168, which has already passed through two committees (the Judiciary Committee and the Infrastructure and Security Committee) and is scheduled to be heard in the Rules Committee tomorrow, despite grave concerns held by advocates, such as the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and the ACLU of Florida, and Florida business leaders.

Last week, a coalition of civil rights and immigrants’ rights organizations issued a statewide travel alert informing individuals traveling to or residing in Florida to anticipate the possible violation of their constitutional rights if SB 168 and HB 527 become law. The alert was issued to caution both Florida travelers and residents, especially Black, brown & Latinx communities, of the increased likelihood of racial and ethnic profiling, unjust detention, and possible deportation if these anti-immigrant bills pass.

Kara Gross, legislative director, ACLU of Florida, also responded to today’s vote, stating:

“These anti-immigrant bills are an affront to human dignity and decency, and simply bad policy. Yet certain legislators continue to ignore the grave consequences our state will face if HB 527 or SB 168 become law. By forcing local law enforcement to act as immigration agents and fulfill warrantless and unreliable ICE detainer requests, the Fourth Amendment and Equal Protection rights of Floridians--especially communities of color--will be put at risk and targeted. Both bills are inherently flawed and only place our communities at risk.”

Micah Kubic, executive director, ACLU of Florida also responded to today’s vote, saying:

“If passed, these bills would expose every government entity in Florida to potential liability for constitutional violations -- as we have already seen in active lawsuits against Miami-Dade and Monroe County -- and it would also erode the trust between our communities and law enforcement agencies. These harmful and unjust bills will not improve public safety and will only instill fear and distrust in law enforcement.  We will continue to urge our state lawmakers to put the civil rights of Floridians first and to stop these dangerous bills.”

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