UnidosUS: Florida SB 168 Will Cripple Sunshine State’s Economic Growth

WASHINGTON, DC—UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) issued the following statement in response to the Florida Senate’s passage of SB 168, legislation that will effectively require local and state law enforcement to serve as federal immigration agents and ban “sanctuary city” policies, though none exist in the state. The draconian measure, which passed in the Senate on a 22-18 vote last Friday, has been billed as one of the strictest laws in the nation bearing a resemblance to Arizona’s infamous SB 1070 bill.

“SB 168, while guised as a public safety measure, is anything but. It is a cruel and irresponsible bill that seeks to appease the Trump administration’s continued anti-immigrant campaign—and does so at the expense of Florida’s immigrant workers and economy. The move would not only jeopardize Florida’s agriculture and tourism industries to the tune of $3.5 billion in GDP but would cultivate an atmosphere of fear for immigrant communities and local law enforcement,” said Jared Nordlund, Senior Florida Strategist for UnidosUS.

Business leaders and activists alike have condemned this measure given the adverse effect it would levy on the state, where more than 20 percent of the population are immigrants. An exodus of 10 percent of undocumented immigrants—many of whom are employed in labor-intensive jobs—would cost the state $76.7 million in federal taxes, $44.7 million in state and local taxes and 44,598 workers.

“We are deeply disappointed to see the Florida Legislature pass similar anti-Hispanic bills (SB 168/HB 527) rather than craft effective common-sense policies that celebrate the diversity the Sunshine state is known for, strengthen the state’s future workforce and continue to power the economy,” continued Nordlund.

“We would like to thank State Reps. Aloupis and Plasencia and State Senator Flores for having the courage to vote with the community instead of their political party on this issue. It’s not too late for the legislature to follow their lead and drop this issue before final passage,” concluded Nordlund.