ACLU Warns Immigrants and People of Color Against Traveling to Florida


Florida is an excellent destination for travel and fun, but all of that may soon come to a halt. The sunshine state could be passing an anti-immigrant bill which spells out big trouble for immigrants and people of color who live or travel there. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent out an alert yesterday, advising minority communities to be cautious in Florida.

“BREAKING: We and partners have issued a travel advisory urging immigrants and people of color to use extreme caution when traveling in Florida,” the tweet read. “The state is on the verge of passing a draconian anti-immigrant bill which will endanger our communities.”

The advisory comes with the introduction of Florida’s Senate Bill 168 and House Bill 527 which essentially gives local police and school officials authority to comply with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). That means that Florida would not have a Sanctuary honor code such as Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. Two areas in Florida — Clay County and Alachua — were previously considered Sanctuary sections. However, now at least Clay County will comply with the new laws if passed.

Republican Senator Joe Gruters said ACLU’s travel advisory would only instill fear and said that the laws would only target criminals.

“This deals with criminal illegal aliens. Unless you’re breaking the law, you have no worries about this bill. This only deals with illegal aliens who are here, who are being processed by the judicial system,” Gruters told Newsweek. “It’s about protecting the rule of law.”

What the senator doesn’t realize is that local police, including school officials, can now target people of color of all ages who they deem to be undocumented. That means children and mothers can be detained by local authorities, and that alone is beyond frightening. To make matters even worse, if these laws are passed (and it looks like they will), it will give way for racist individuals to feel as if they have the right to target people just because they don’t like them. In the past, we have seen time and time again, that ICE has targeted the wrong individuals and have detained people without a warrant merely because they can.

This law will ultimately hurt Florida and not just in tourism dollars, but also the local economy. People will be afraid to send their kids off to school. People will be afraid not to go outside. They will not shop, they will not go to the doctors; they will be imprisoned in their own home.

“I have good fortune because as a DACA recipient, I have the privilege of driving to school and work without fear of being criminalized,” Nery L., Miami-Dade Organizer with the Florida Immigrant Youth Network (FLIYN) said in a statement with the ACLU. “That’s not the case for many of my family, friends and immigrant community, who run the risk of being criminalized every time they drive to work or while taking their kids to school.”

Thomas Kennedy, the political director at the Florida Immigration Coalition, said in news release that this law is shameful.

Taking precious local resources away from law enforcement to further target Floridian families for deportation comes at an extremely high financial and moral cost. The insidious attacks against immigrants on the national level are being amplified by Florida lawmakers pushing for anti-immigrant policies.”

We will keep you updated on the progress of this law.

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