TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Senate Judiciary Committee today voted to pass Senate Bill 168. Despite today’s vote, Senators still have an opportunity to defeat this bill by rejecting to hear it in any further committees. SB 168 would prohibit all state and local agencies from passing or enforcing ordinances that would protect immigrants from unlawful detention and would divert limited local resources to enforcing federal immigration law. This bill will have a devastating impact on all Floridians and has been firmly denounced by advocates, including the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) and the ACLU of Florida.
Thomas Kennedy, Political Director, FLIC, responded to today’s vote, stating:
“People from across the state came together to oppose this SB 168, and the Senate Judiciary Committee today has ignored the will of the people. This bill erodes any trust between law enforcement and local communities, and could end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Creating a climate of fear that makes families afraid of reporting crimes or driving their children to school will not make this a safer state. Florida should be a place where all immigrants are allowed to live without the constant worry of being detained and separated from their loved ones. We are calling all members of the Florida Senate who care about our immigrant communities to speak out against SB 168.”
Kara Gross, legislative director, ACLU of Florida, also responded to today’s vote, stating:
“We are disappointed the Senate Judiciary committee passed SB 168 today, despite calls from hundreds of Floridians urging them to denounce the bill. Despite overwhelming evidence and research that the bill would expose government entities to significant liability for constitutional violations, pose great economic burdens on local governments and put a target on the backs of people of color - regardless of citizenship - the Senate still passed this bill that flies in the face of human dignity and constitutional rights.
“While it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee today, lawmakers still have an opportunity to defeat this cruel bill. By forcing local law enforcement to act as immigration agents and carry out warrantless detainer requests, state and local personnel would be susceptible to violating the the Fourth Amendment and Equal Protection rights of fellow Floridians. The role of law enforcement is to serve and protect communities, not to create an environment of fear or to do the work of federal ICE agents.”
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