The American Civil Liberties Union has issued a travel advisory warning immigrants and people of color to use “extreme caution” when traveling in Florida over proposed “anti-sanctuary” bills that would require local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
“BREAKING: We and partners have issued a travel advisory urging immigrants and people of color to use extreme caution when traveling in Florida,” the ACLU tweeted Monday. “The state is on the verge of passing a draconian anti-immigrant bill which will endanger our communities.”
Both of Florida’s legislative chambers have advanced legislation that would prohibit local and state governmental entities from enacting sanctuary policies and require them to use their “best efforts” in supporting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain illegal immigrants.
In a news release, the ACLU cautioned Florida travelers and residents, “especially Black, brown & Latinx communities,” of the “increased likelihood of racial profiling, unjust detention, and possible deportation if these anti-immigrant bills pass.”
The ACLU warned that the bills would create an “irreparable human cost” as well as expose local authorities to potential legal and financial liabilities by forcing them to comply with ICE’s “flawed detainer system.”
“ICE’s broken detainer system has wrongfully disrupted the lives and families of Floridians,” Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement. “If either SB 168 and HB 527 become law, then we’d find this disruption occurring on a statewide level. Forcing Florida law enforcement agencies to comply with ICE detainers only exposes themselves to damages liability for constitutional violations and threatens the civil rights of all Floridians. The Constitution guarantees that every person should have due process and the right to equal treatment, regardless of their citizenship.”
Republican state Sen. Joe Gruters, who sponsored the Senate bill, called the ACLU’s warning “borderline race-baiting” and “misguided at best.”
“You talk about fearmongering and upping the rhetoric even more … that’s one way to do it,” he told Newsweek.
“This deals with criminal illegal aliens,” he said. “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. It’s about protecting the rule of law.”
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