UnidosUS Statement on Florida’s Anti-Immigrant Legislation HB 1617/SB 1718

TALLAHASSEE, FL — UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) today issued the following statement in response to the Florida legislature’s passage of HB1617 legislation that would target immigrants and their families and criminalize Floridians who provide them with support. UnidosUS Florida State Advocacy Director Jared Nordlund issued the following statement in response to this unprecedented and harmful legislation: 

“Florida has long prided itself on being a welcoming state to all who come here. Unfortunately, House Bill 1617 is the latest example of refusal from the Legislative majority to address the real needs of Florida’s Hispanic community, like driving down the cost of housing and utilities, lowering insurance rates, expanding access to health care, and closing reading and math achievement gaps in K-12 schools. The legislation targets every immigrant living in Florida regardless of their legal status or how many years they have lived in our state. This harmful legislation does the most un-Florida thing by making criminals out of Floridians who provide help to family, friends, or neighbors who are undocumented, including those who have lived in Florida for many years and have children who were born in the United States, and who contribute millions of tax dollars and $12.6 billion to Florida’s economy. At a time when it should be working on improving the welfare of all Floridians, the Legislative majority has chosen to enable profiteers, speculators, and corporate monopolies all at the expense of hard-working taxpayers.”  

“By using $12 million in taxpayer dollars to fund the “Unauthorized Alien Transport Program,” many more immigrants will be manipulated by state government representatives into being trafficked to other states, replicating the shameful political stunt sending adults and children to Martha’s Vineyard unknowingly and without essential care and resources.” 

“HB1617 would affect all of us. Under HB1617, Florida employers and health care providers would be forced to act as law enforcement officials and verify the immigration status of each employee and patient receiving life-saving medical care. Floridians providing services to immigrants, including churches, attorneys, and social service providers, could be vulnerable to prosecution for doing their jobs.” 

“All Floridians must stand together in opposition to this extreme legislation that targets immigrants and undermines the rights of all Floridians in service to Governor DeSantis’ authoritarian political agenda.”