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Florida Families and Advocates Rally Against SB168/HB527

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Here is a recording of the call.

Earlier today, Florida families and advocates came together after protesting in the state’s capital to oppose the harmful, anti-immigrant state bills SB168/HB527. Those impacted by the policies as well as allies and advocates agree the proposed legislation would strip the civil liberties of millions of U.S. citizens and immigrants, promote racial profiling, separate families, and devastate Florida’s economy. Advocates on the call also previewed upcoming mobilizations against anti-immigrant legislation in Florida.

Maria Bilbao, United We Dream FL organizer said, “Today was a powerful day in Tallahassee, where hundreds of families from across Florida marched to the State Capitol and chanted here to stay, and said NO to the racial profiling laws SB 168 and HB 527. Before I was an organizer, I was a domestic worker and because I was undocumented at that time, I drove to work every day in fear of being stopped and detained. These bills would create even more fear and put my friends and community members in threat of detention and deportation. Our state of Florida doesn’t need to give the deportation force of ICE and CBP more power and money, we need to defund hate and keep our families together.”

Ida Eskamani, Florida Immigrant Coalition Public Policy Manager said, “Currently we have nearly 300 people at Capitol with us today as part of We Are Florida’s day of action, advocating against SB168/HB527. Proponents of this bill call it a “sanctuary city bill”, but there is no sanctuary city in Florida. Other proponents argue that this bill targets violent criminals, but nowhere in the bill explicitly states that it only applies to people convicted of violent or serious crimes. The language of this bill shows that the scope is much wider and will impact every single level of the government in Florida, including law enforcement to comply with ICE. We are mobilizing to stop this extreme bill. We will educate lawmakers on why it will have such dramatic and extreme consequences for marginalized communities- not just the fear that it will instill but also the actual tangible changes it will make.”

Jonathan Fried, Executive Director at We Count said, “We have a lot of experience seeing the impact of what policy like bills SB 168 and HB 527 will look like. What we see in our community is that the police has been making very minor charges towards immigrants, mostly about driver’s license. So when state legislators claim it’s about dealing with serious crimes, it’s not true. It’s really shocking that we’ve come to a point where such bills are proposed. This is going to make our entire community less safe and more fearful. We want the immigrant community to be counted because they deserve fair treatment for their contributions.”

Guadalupe de la Cruz, We Count,  said, “There’s already a mistrust in our communities, and these bills will only further that mistrust. It will destroy families and result in even more family separations. We’ve mobilized members to come to Tallahassee to speak to lawmakers to push out these bills We don’t want more family separations.”