Immigrants and allies speak out against Florida bill

pro-immigrant rally
Nanci Palacios helped organize the We Are Florida rallies. By Seán Kinane / WMNF News (Jan. 2016).

Pro-immigrant groups held rallies across the state Wednesday as part of what’s called the “We Are Florida” campaign. Wednesday morning outside Tampa City Hall Nanci Palacios criticized what she says are anti-immigrant bills that have been introduced in the state House and Senate. Pelacios is an organizer with Faith in Florida.

“We are here this morning in front of City (Hall) to be agle to ask Mayor (Bob) Buckhorn to pass a resolution — that would protect our families, that would protect our immigrant communities – that says that they are not going to enforce any kind of law that would affect and persecute our immigrant communities.”

The group went to Mayor Buckhorn’s office but had to leave contact information because he was not there. They’re opposed to House Bill 675 which would require “state & local governmental agencies to comply with & support enforcement of federal immigration law.” The bill prohibits what it says are “sanctuary policies” by some municipalities. But Palacios says it would cost taxpayers and turn people in communities against each other.

“It’s going to create fear. It’s going to create a lack of collaboration between the police force and the community, where people will not be wanting to report any kind of criminal activity or any kind of crimes because they would be scared to be asked for their status – whether they’re undocumented or not.  It’s going to create fear in parents sending their kids to school because schools would have to report who’s undocumented in their schools. And that is something we do not want in our city, we don’t want in our state. And we’re asking Mayor Buckhorn to be able to help us pass a resolution in our city because that’s going to cost us money and it’s also going to cause a lot of fear in our city.”

Palacios says they will also reach out to the City Council, County Commission and school board. Paola Calvo Florido is a board member with the Florida Immigrant Coalition and says the bill in the state legislature and others like it are part of a “Trump phase” of anti-immigrant politics.

“It’s really taking away the resources from law enforcement to be pursuing crime in the city and then having them pursue families instead.”

The House bill has been “Added to Second Reading Calendar” after being tabled Tuesday.  A similar bill (SB 872) has been filed in the State Senate.


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