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Florida Immigrants Rally Against Anti-Immigrant Legislation In Tallahassee


Hundreds of immigration advocates gathered at the Florida Capitol yesterday afternoon for a press conference and rally in opposition to various anti-immigrant measures that are currently being considered by state lawmakers.

This is the second statewide mobilization from the We Are Florida! campaign, which is driven by several pro-migrant organizations from all across Florida. This time, immigrant families were joined by Democrats and Republicans alike – most notably Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami), who pledged to “stand in the way” of any anti-immigrant measures that came before his committee:

Senator Dwight Bullard (D-Miami), a long time supporter and champion of immigrant communities, also joined the advocates:

Anti-Immigrant Measures in the Florida Senate

Following a press conference, immigrants and their supporters delivered thousands of petition signatures to the offices of Senate President Andi Gardiner and Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla. While Senator Diaz de la Portilla has pledged to kill the bills as chairman of the Judiciary committee, advocates used the opportunity to urge Senate President Andi Gardiner to oppose the measures.

House Bill 675, sponsored by Senator Larry Metz (R-Yalaha), which would restrain the sovereignty of local governments across Florida by denying them the ability to engage in common sense community policing, has been passed through the Florida House and heads for committee hearings in the Senate.

Pam Bondi Refuses to Meet With Immigrant Families

Senate President Andi Gardiner and Senator Miguel Diaz were not the only ones to receive thousands of signatures at their offices.

A group of immigrants from HOPE Community Center tried to deliver 1,500 petition signatures to Florida’s Attorney general Pam Bondi. Despite their efforts, the delegation from Apopka was told that the Attorney General would not meet with them and that staff members were unable to speak to them.

Last year, Attorney General Pam Bondi joined Florida into a partisan lawsuit that has blocked the implementation of President Obama’s DAPA program – which could provide deportation relief to the immigrant parents of U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent residents. It is estimated that between 163,000 and 182,400 Floridians could benefit from DAPA.

The DAPA Case now heads to the Supreme Court.

Florida Republicans Push Anti-Immigrant Agenda

With three weeks left in the Florida legislative session, there is still a lot of things Florida Republicans ought to keep in mind.

Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates will face off in another debate in Miami, Florida, where immigration is sure to come up as a topic of conversation. 

The GOP Debate is scheduled for March 10 and will take place in Miami, Florida. The debate is a day before the Florida Legislature adjourns (hopefully without having passed any sort of anti-immigration legislation), and five days before the Florida presidential primaries.

As Florida braces for what is sure to be an immigration rhetoric hurricane in early March, it will be interesting to see what kind of new extreme positions Republican showcase in the Sunshine State.