Media Contact

Melissa Taveras, melissa@floridaimmigrant.org, 786.663.6690
Elizabeth Fernandez, elizabethfernandez@floridaimmigrant.org, 786.956.2079
ACLU of Florida Media Office, media@aclufl.org, 786.363.2737

January 24, 2019

Florida — On January 23rd, Florida House Rep. Cord Byrd filed HB 527, which would prohibit all state and local agencies from passing or enforcing ordinances that would protect immigrants from detention and would repeal any existing sanctuary policies. This would affect millions of Floridians and has been firmly denounced by advocates, including the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the ACLU of Florida. In Miami-Dade County, which was the first in the nation to cave to Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda by agreeing to collaborate more closely with ICE, there have been grave financial and social costs.

The following is a statement by Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of Florida Immigrant Coalition:

“Local counties and municipalities should have jurisdiction over their own resources and define their own priorities. Directing precious local resources away from law enforcement and diverting them to target Floridian families for deportation comes at an extremely high financial and moral costs. With attacks on the national level being amplified by local anti-immigrant policies, it’s more important than ever for immigrants to feel like they can turn to their local elected officials and police force to protect them. Instead, immigrant communities are being threatened, profiled, harassed and detained in greater numbers. Why would we want to use our valuable local resources towards hurting our families and our budgets?”

The following is a statement by Kirk Bailey, ACLU of Florida Political Director

“Anti-immigrant laws have no place in Florida. Law enforcement's primary function is to protect and serve all communities. These cruel policies only serve to further corrode community trust in law enforcement, drain valuable law enforcement resources, and make Florida less safe.

“Policies in House Bill 527, like warrantless detainer requests, have already been found by courts to be unconstitutional as they violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution, and we’ve witnessed how harmful these anti-immigrant policies are to our state and to all Floridians. Immigration law is the responsibility of the federal government – not local police departments – and once again, lawmakers are trying to enact cruel, anti-immigrant policies that further threaten Florida’s reputation as an inclusive and welcoming state.”

In January 2018, 17 Florida sheriffs announced they were joining a pilot program to work more closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, though some soon backed away and withdrew from the program because of the negative impacts on their communities.

Anybody who wants to know more about their constitutional rights should call the Florida Immigrant Hotline for information in Spanish, English, and Kreyol: 1-888-600-5762

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