Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee passed Senate Bill 1718, a devastating anti-immigrant bill that would harm immigrant communities throughout Florida in different facets of their life and criminalize Floridians who travel into the State with immigrants pursuing lawful status, including those who are legally authorized to be in Florida during that process.
The House Commerce Committee voted yesterday to pass the companion bill, House Bill 1617 (HB 1617). The final bill could be passed as early as this Friday.
SB 1718 would discourage immigrant Floridians from accessing health care, and prohibit the funding of community identification cards by local governments. Among other abhorrent policies, the plan would also impose unnecessary and extreme penalties for individuals and groups who travel into the state with migrants and asylum seekers, leading to more detention of immigrants and citizens alike, and to more family separations.
The bill is an overreach of government power impacting all Floridians, including citizens, legal residents and undocumented immigrants alike.
Kirk Bailey, political director of the ACLU of Florida, responded to today's hearing with the following:
“This bill has nothing to do with making Florida a better place to live, it has nothing to do with keeping Floridians safe. In fact, it actively harms Floridians and criminalizes people who interact with immigrants who are legally authorized to be in Florida. From a church group seeking to reunite asylum seekers with loved ones in Florida, to a parent taking a group of kids to visit colleges in Georgia, there are many people who could be criminalized if this bill becomes law.
“This hurts everyday Floridians, our businesses and our economy, and even disincentivizes people from seeking medical care. There is only one way to describe this bill pushed by the DeSantis Administration: a complete abuse of State power and infringement on our freedoms. The impact of the bill will be to surveil personal decisions around who one travels within and out of the State, and assumes nefarious activity for a broad number of cases.
“This bill will also prohibit local governments from funding community IDs, which will only hurt Florida communities, people and 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 and people and organizations who interact with them.”