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The Florida Legislature is back in session, which means that new attacks on immigrant communities are not far behind.
Emboldened by Donald Trump’s victory in November, Republican state legislators are preparing to attack immigrant families across the Sunshine State – regardless if those attacks lead to discrimination or racial profiling.
The Tampa Bay Times reports:
“…immigrant advocates and civil rights organizations vehemently oppose Metz’s plan, saying it’s hostile to immigrants and circumvents local authority.
“This bill ultimately cannot be enforced without legalizing racial profiling,” said Francesca Menes, policy and advocacy director for the Florida Immigrant Coalition. “Because, how do you know that I’m undocumented without actually targeting particular communities that are the most vulnerable and holding people on (U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement) requests?”
The bill in question is HB 697, a measure that seeks to punish Sanctuary Cities (or Counties) across the state of Florida. If that sounds a lot like what Donald Trump is doing at the national level, that’s because it is.
Republican Larry Metz, the anti-immigrant Representative from Yalaha, is once again attempting to pass a toxic immigration bill that could “withhold state grant funding for five years from governments that violate the proposed law, and the governor would also be empowered to remove any elected official from office who violates it.”
At a time where the immigrant community continues to experience fear and anxiety over Trump’s executive orders on immigration, which have deported hundreds of hard-working immigrants and helped detain DREAMers, one has to wonder if Republicans in Tallahassee understand the economic contributions that immigrants make to agriculture and tourism, two of Florida’s largest industries.
The Washington Post provided a glimpse of what could happen across Florida farmlands if immigrants continue to serve as targets of mass deportation (spoiler: Alabama already went through this, and it was awful), while national reports point to a decline in tourism due to Trump’s Muslim Ban.
Are Florida Republicans ready to assume the costs that derive from racist anti-immigrant policies like HB 697? Because Representative Larry Metz, along with Reps. Danny Burgess, Shawn Harrison, and Jackie Toledo appear to be.