FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 5, 2016
ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL – This week, the Florida House Criminal justice Subcommittee passed HB 1095, a bill intended to restrict the settlement of Syrian and other refugees into the state.

Responding to the bill, ACLU of Florida Director of Public Policy Michelle Richardson stated:

“This bill is unconstitutional, unnecessary, and simply beyond the pale.  That it has passed the Criminal Justice Subcommittee in the Florida House is an embarrassment to our state.

“The bill effectively bans the resettlement of refugees in Florida who originate from countries outside the Western Hemisphere and empowers the governor to use his emergency authority and military force to stop imaginary ‘invaders.’”

“Besides the inflammatory and divisive rhetoric labeling those escaping conflict zones as potential ‘invaders,’ the bill is unconstitutional. Control of immigration is an exclusive function of the federal government, and limiting the settlement of refugees within the U.S. would violate international treaties.  The fig leaf used to cover this bill’s obvious unconstitutionality is claiming that Florida has been under an imminent threat of invasion of foreign persons since 9/11.

“This is fear-mongering, and it is dangerous.  Refugees are the single most scrutinized group of individuals who travel to the United States.  It is ridiculous to think that the Florida governor should be able to invoke military powers to defend the state against the phantom threat of refugees who fleeing violence in their home countries.  In reality all it does is immorally scapegoat the very people fleeing from violence, civil war and terrorism.

“This bill is affront to our values as Floridians and as Americans.“

The ACLU of Florida had submitted a letter to members of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee expressing its opposition to the bill. A copy of that letter is available here: