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Immigration Local and State Report: Arizona, Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee, Wisconsin

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Latinos and immigrants are mobilizing to defeat anti-immigrant legislation in key battleground states. Florida turned out hundreds of advocates to the Florida Capitol, where they were joined by Democrats and Republicans who pledged to oppose attacks on immigrant communities. In Wisconsin, thousands of people gathered at the state legislature to oppose legislation that would criminalize immigrants in the state. Two great examples of what we can accomplish when immigrant communities stand together. However, other states remain determined to continue their attacks on immigrants and their families.

ARIZONA: Republicans in Arizona “don’t trust the federal government to properly vet refugees.” Think Progress reports how an Arizona House panel passed a legislation targeting refugees fleeing violent conditions in their home countries:

Arizona became the most recent state to target Middle Eastern refugees, when its House panel passed legislation on Wednesday that would allow the state to reject helping refugees to resettle in Arizona, if the state can’t ensure they were properly vetted by federal officials.

FLORIDA: Florida immigration advocates were joined earlier this week by Republicans and Democrats who pledged to block any anti-immigrant legislation. Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, a Miami Republican labeled a proposal to punish sanctuary-cities “xenophobic” and told advocates that he planned to “stand in the way” of any measures that “attacks and demonizes immigrant communities.”

NEBRASKA: A bill in front of the Nebraska Legislature could grant professional licenses to DACA eligible immigrants. The nation’s sole unicameral legislature is currently considering LB 947, sponsored by Senator Heath Mello, which would allow the “State of Nebraska to make full use of the skills and talents in the state by ensuring that a person who is work-authorized is able to obtain a professional or commercial license and practice his or her profession.” Nebraska Appleseed is currently monitoring the legislation:

TENNESSEE: A Tennessee Senate panel has passed a resolution authorizing the state to sue the Federal Government over refugee resettlement. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the resolution still has to go “to the Senate floor, where it would have to be approved and then go to the House.” If passed, the resolution would also grant “the General Assembly to retain its own counsel and march into federal court.” A  similar measure also is being considered in Florida, providing Governor Rick Scott with “the authority to use police powers, emergency powers and military force to keep out [refugees].”

WISCONSIN: An estimated 20,000 Latinos, immigrants, and their allies from across the state walked out of their jobs and schools to mobilize against two anti-immigrant bills now sitting in the state legislature.

Immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera dubbed the action “A Day Without Latinos,” and organizers and activists wanted to show state leaders the harmful effects these bills could have on Wisconsin’s local economy, including the state’s dairy industry.