TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate Judiciary Committee decided yesterday to temporarily postpone Senate Bill 168. SB 168 would have a devastating impact on millions of Floridians and has been firmly denounced by advocates, including the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and the ACLU of Florida. It would prohibit all state and local entities from passing or enforcing ordinances that would protect immigrants from unlawful detention, would repeal any existing sanctuary policies and would divert limited local resources to enforcing federal immigration law, despite constitutional concerns.
The bill has been rescheduled by the Senate Judiciary Committee to be heard on February 19, 2019, allowing it a pathway to become legislation. Advocates continue to urge the Senate to reject hearing this bill to protect immigrants in Florida from this cruel legislation.
Thomas Kennedy, Political Director, FLIC, responded to today’s vote, stating:
“While it’s a positive development that the Judiciary Committee decided to postpone SB168, the bill still poses a grave threat to immigrants in Florida. This bill will create an environment of fear and will erode trust between law enforcement and local communities. We call on Judiciary Committee Chair David Simmons to oppose this disastrous bill and refuse to schedule it for any further hearings. Florida should be a place where immigrants are allowed to love and thrive without being living in fear of being detained.”
Kara Gross, legislative director, ACLU of Florida, also responded to today’s vote, stating:
“We are grateful the Judiciary Committee postponed this anti-immigrant bill and urge Chair Simmons to not schedule it for a future hearing. SB 168 represents a grave threat to public safety, human dignity, and the civil rights of all Floridians and has no place in a just society. It would have exposed every state and local government entity and employee in Florida to potential liability for constitutional violations – as we have already seen in the active lawsuits against Miami-Dade and Monroe County. By forcing local law enforcement to act as unpaid immigration agents and fulfill warrantless ICE detainer requests, SB 168 exposes local law enforcement to significant liability for violating the constitutional rights of Floridians. The role of law enforcement is to serve and protect communities, not to do the bidding of federal ICE agents. We urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to not hear this dangerous bill.”
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